2 Sailors ‘Miraculously’ Avoid Joining Argentinian Submarine Lost at Sea

By James Burke
James Burke
James Burke
November 25, 2017 Updated: November 25, 2017

Last minute decisions resulted in two Argentinean submariners not joining their fellow crew members on their submarine that has been missing in the South Atlantic since Nov. 15.

For different reasons, Humberto Vilte and Adrián Rothlisberger were not required to board ARA San Juan which left a naval base in southern Argentina on Nov. 13, reported Fox, citing Brazilian newspaper O Globo.

Vilte was permitted to miss the mission on compassionate grounds due to his mother being seriously ill, O Globo reported. As part of that the Argentinean navy also paid for his trip back home to see his hospitalized mother, according to local newspaper Clarín.

Since the disappearance of the German-built submarine, Vilte has replaced his Facebook profile picture with that of an ARA San Juan shield with a black ribbon on it.

Rothlisberger – the other submariner who did not join the 44 members on board the missing submarine – avoided the trip by “a matter of seconds,” his mother said, according to O Globo.

Sandra Álvares said her son was allowed to miss the mission as he had completed a series of tasks for his supervisor.

Álvares told Radio Dos it was a “miracle” that her son did not board the submarine.

“Keep praying,” she said in reference to the hope of finding those still missing.

Both sailors have now traveled to the coastal city of Mar del Plata where many of the missing’s family and friends have gathered to await further news of the submarine’s fate.

However, news that a suspected explosion – described as a “hydro-acoustic anomaly” – was detected in the area where the submarine last communicated from has meant many have given up hope in seeing their loved ones again.

Among the missing is Eliana Maria Krawczyk – Argentina’s first female submarine officer.

Efforts to find the 34-year-old submarine continue. More than a dozen countries and some 4,000 people have joined the hunt to find the missing submarine, reported The Financial Times.

Argentinian navy spokesman Captain Enrique Baldi said search teams had access to “the best technology available” via the U.S. navy, reported the BBC.

“We have the best naval, air and sensor resources available in the area, all focused on searching for the submarine,” said Baldi. “We are still looking and no country is saying at the moment when they will stop. Logically it’s time-limited but no-one is speaking about that at the moment.”

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James Burke