Hopes of rescuing 53 crew members trapped aboard a missing Indonesian submarine are fading as the oxygen supply is said to have been depleted.
Search helicopters, military aircraft and warships from around the world were used to hunt down the naval ship KRI Nanggala-402.
The German-built ship disappeared off the coast of Bali on Wednesday when it was conducting an exercise, but did not report back and contact was lost.
Authorities said the crew had enough air to survive three days after the blackout, but that deadline expired early Saturday morning.
“We haven’t found it yet … but with the equipment available we should be able to find the location,” Achmad Riyadh, a spokesman for the Indonesian military, told a press conference.
The Indonesian Navy is investigating whether the submarine lost power during the dive and was unable to take emergency measures, causing it to fall 600 to 700 meters – well beyond survival limits.
India, Malaysia, Singapore, and the United States have sent specialized ships and planes in response to Indonesian requests for help with locating them. France and Germany have also offered assistance.
Australia has also dispatched a sonar-equipped warship in a helicopter to aid in the submarine hunt, amid fears the submarine may have been crushed by water pressure.
An earlier flight search revealed an oil spill near the submarine’s dive site, which could indicate damage to the fuel tank or a signal from the crew.
An object with “high magnetic force” was discovered “floating” at a depth of 50 to 100 meters in the sea, said the chief of staff of the Indonesian Navy, Yudo Margono, on Friday.
The diesel-electric powered ship could withstand depths of 500 meters, but anything else would prove fatal. The Bali Sea can reach depths of more than 1,500 meters.
The Pentagon said Friday that Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin had spoken to his Indonesian counterpart Prabowo Subianto and offered additional assistance, including underwater search resources.