Water entered the snorkel of the Argentine submarine ARA San Juan, causing its battery to short-circuit before it went missing on Nov. 15, a navy spokesman said on Monday as hope dwindled among some families of the 44-member crew.
The San Juan had only a seven-day oxygen supply when it lost contact, and a sudden noise was detected that the navy says could have been the implosion of the vessel. Ships with rescue equipment from countries including the United States and Russia were nonetheless rushing to join the search.
The search for the 65-meter (213-foot) diesel-electric submarine is concentrated in an area some 430 km (267 miles) off Argentina’s southern coast. The effort includes ships and planes manned by 4,000 personnel from 13 countries, including Brazil, Chile and Great Britain.
Among the crew’s family members, fissures started appearing on Monday between those who refuse to give up hope and those who say it is time to accept that their loved ones will not come back alive.
Some relatives have said they are focusing on the lack of physical evidence of an implosion and the possibility that the submarine might have risen close enough to the ocean surface to replenish its oxygen supply after it went missing.
But Itati Leguizamon said she believed her husband, crew member German Suarez, had died.
“The other families are attacking me for what I am saying,” she said, “but why have they not found it yet? Why don’t they tell us the truth?”