Indonesia’s Navy changed the status of its missing submarine from “sub miss” to “sub sank” on Saturday, as a naval chief presented debris believed to be from the vessel at a news conference.
Authorities now expect to carry out an evacuation process to recover the KRI Nanggala-402 submarine and its crew when they pinpoint its exact location, Indonesian Navy Chief of Staff Yudo Margono said. Hope is fading for the 53 crew members, who were expected to have run out of oxygen early on Saturday. So far, no sign of them has been found, Yudo said. Some warships deployed to the Bali Sea, where the submarine was last contacted Wednesday, will be used to help find the vessel by detecting metal or magnetic objects in the water, Yudo said.
Yudo said an explosion was not believed to have occurred on the submarine but that heavy pressure on the vessel likely created a crack through which some items escaped. Six pieces of debris believed to be from the submarine were presented to journalists at the news conference. The items were found about two miles from the spot where the submarine started to dive before it went missing, Yudo said, and included a bottle of grease, part of a torpedo launcher, part of a metal tube, prayer mats and fuel. The debris was found floating at a location where the sea is 850 meters (930 yards) deep, he said, which would make a possible evacuation very “difficult.”
Authorities said earlier the submarine could not survive at depths beyond 500 meters. People who were on a previous mission on the KRI Nanggala-402 submarine confirmed that some of the debris belonged to the submarine, the navy chief of staff said. The bottle of grease matched what the crew would use to lubricate the submarine’s periscope.