Crew pronounced dead after wreckage of Indonesian submarine found

The Indonesian military has officially announced that all 53 crew members of a submarine that sank and broke apart last week are dead.

Search teams have found the shipwreck on the ocean floor, officials added.

The grim announcement comes a day after Indonesia said the submarine was classified as sunk, not only missing, but not specifically saying whether the crew was dead.

Officials had also said that the KRI Nanggala 402 had run out of oxygen early Saturday, three days after the ship disappeared off the holiday island of Bali.

“We have received underwater images that have been confirmed as parts of the submarine, including the rear vertical rudder, the anchors, the outer pressure hull, the embossed diving rudder and other ship parts,” military chief Hadi Tjahjanto told reporters in Bali on Sunday.

“With this authentic evidence, we can explain that KRI Nanggala 402 sank and all crew members are dead,” said Tjahjanto.

An underwater robot equipped with cameras found the lost submarine in at least three parts on the seabed at a depth of 838 meters, said Admiral Yudo Margono, chief of staff of the Navy.

This is much deeper than the KRI Nanggala 402’s collapse depth of 200 meters. According to earlier information from the Navy, at this point the water pressure would be higher than the hull could withstand.

Adm Margono said emergency survival suits, usually kept in boxes, were found floating underwater, apparently indicating that the crew tried to put them on during the emergency.

The cause of the submarine’s sinking remains uncertain.

The Navy had previously said that due to a power outage, a submarine could not have taken emergency measures to reappear.

The wreck is located 1,500 meters south of where the submarine last dived off Bali’s north coast on Wednesday, Adm Margono said.

Photos of the debris were presented at the press conference.

The underwater robot used by the Singapore ship MV Swift Rescue provided the images, while the Indonesian ship KRI Rigel had scanned the area where the submarine was believed to have sunk with a multi-beam sonar and a magnetometer, Tjahjanto said.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo expressed his condolences in a televised address.

“All Indonesians are deeply saddened by this tragedy, especially towards all the families of the submarine crew. They are the best sons of the nation, patriots who protect the sovereignty of the country,” said Widodo.

An American reconnaissance aircraft, a P-8 Poseidon, landed early Saturday to join the search, along with 20 Indonesian ships, a sonar-equipped Australian warship and four Indonesian aircraft.

The diesel-powered KRI Nanggala 402 built in Germany had been in use in Indonesia since 1981 and carried 49 crew members and three gunners as well as its commanders, announced the Indonesian Ministry of Defense.

Indonesia, the largest archipelago nation in the world with more than 17,000 islands, has posed growing challenges to its maritime claims in recent years, including numerous incidents involving Chinese ships near the Natuna Islands.


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