Argentina’s navy said Thursday that it detected a sound consistent with an explosion near the location where one of its submarines disappeared last week with 44 crew members on board as the fate of the ARA San Juan remains unknown.
Navy spokesman Enrique Balbi said an "abnormal, singular, short, violent, non-nuclear event" had been detected in the south Atlantic where the sub vanished. He said there was no sign the explosion might be linked to an attack on the sub.
The sound was captured by the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty Organization, a Vienna-based group, and shared with Argentine authorities.
The U.S. Navy and specialist agencies previously said a "hydro-acoustic anomaly" was detected just hours after the navy lost contact with the ARA San Juan on Nov. 15.
The report of the explosive noise is a worrying development.
Experts say even if the ARA San Juan is intact, its crew might have only enough oxygen to last seven to 10 days. The German-built diesel-electric sub went missing as it sailed from the extreme southern port of Ushuaia to the city of Mar del Plata, about 250 miles southeast of Buenos Aires.
Ships and planes from an international search-and-rescue mission, including the U.S., British and Russian navies, returned late Wednesday to the search area to check on the noise that experts said could provide a clue to the vessel’s location.
Search teams are combing an area of about 480,000 square kilometers, roughly the size of Spain. The U.S. government sent two P-8 Poseidons, a naval research ship, a submarine rescue chamber and sonar-equipped underwater vehicles.
An object detected by a U.S. Navy plane near where the submarine went missing turned out not to be the vessel, a U.S. embassy spokeswoman told Reuters on Thursday.
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