Heat signals a ray of hope for Argentine submarine running short on air: reports

A US Navy P-8A Poseidon involved in the search for the Argentine submarine ARA San Juan has reportedly detected a heat signal some 300 kilometers off the coast of Puerto Madryn.

The reports, which emerged in Argentine media, fuel new hope of finding the submariners alive.

The 44 crew of the diesel-electric submarine has been missing for seven days counting from the last time it communicated with the command on November 15, meaning they are running short of oxygen. Unlike the nuclear-powered submarines which can remain submerged for long periods of time, the TR-1700-class diesel-electric submarine only has enough oxygen for some 10 days under water.

The reports of heat signal detection are yet to be confirmed by either the US or Argentine Navy.

The international search and rescue mission has entered the sixth day. Early on in the search, satellite calls were detected and presumed to be coming from the submarine. Analysis revealed that the calls did not come from the submarine. Another possibility for pinpointing the submarine’s whereabouts was discarded after banging noises picked up by sonars were attributed to marine life.

The first five days of search efforts were hampered by rough seas and those involved in the search and rescue efforts hope calmer waters would improve sonar conditions and prospects of finding the submarine.