An Antonov-124 Ruslan airlifter has flown a team of Russian naval specialists to Argentina where they will join the efforts to rescue the distressed submarine, ARA San Juan missing since November 15. Argentine channel Todo Noticias aired the footage of the jet’s landing.
The huge aircraft first landed in Comodoro Rivadavia for refueling and then headed for Ushuaia, in Tierra del Fuego, from where the ARA San Juan left heading for its base in Mar del Plata, which it never reached.
The specialists have been delegated by the Russian Navy’s rescue detachment in St Petersburg. The team includes the commanding officer and operators of the Pantera Plus remote-control unmanned deep-sea descent vehicle, deep-sea divers, and an undersea physician. The Pantera Plus can operate at 1.000 meters depth/
Also heading for Argentina is the Russian oceanographic research ship Yantar, and according to Argentine navy spokesperson Enrique Balbi its arrival in the search area was expected ‘by the end of the week’. Yantar can scan the sea bottom at over 3.000 meters.
After November 17, when an Argentine notification on the launch of a search and rescue operation appeared at the homepage of the International Submarine Escape and Rescue Liaison Office [ISMERLO], this country started getting a huge number of proposals from different countries for various types of assistance, Balbi said.
The Argentine Foreign Ministry says twelve countries Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, Norway, Peru, Spain, the U.S., the UK, and Uruguay - have taken part in the operation. Russia offered its assistance on Wednesday.
ARA San Juan, a diesel-electric powered submarine with a 44-strong crew aboard, stopped responding to radio communications on November 15. The Argentine Navy said an intensive search for it began in the night hours of November 16.
On Thursday, Balbi said Argentina had received information on an abnormal solitary powerful non-nuclear accident that equaled an explosion, registered in the search area on the day of the last communication with the distressed submarine.