The Indian Navy's Deep Submergence Rescue Vessel has joined in the search for a decades-old Indonesian navy sub that went missing off the coast of Bali
The Indian Navy's Deep Submergence Rescue Vessel has joined in the search for a decades-old Indonesian navy sub that went missing off the coast of Bali

Rescuers hone in on submarine radar contact

Indonesia's desperate search for a missing submarine and its crew of 53 honed in on a radar contact Friday, with just hours to go before the stricken vessel's oxygen reserves ran out.

The ramped-up hunt comes as Australia and the United States are set to join the search off the coast of Bali where the sub disappeared more than two days ago during training exercises.

Ships equipped with sonar-tracking equipment were deployed in the hopes that the object could be the KRI Nanggala 402, which was equipped with oxygen reserves that could last until early Saturday, authorities said.

"Hopefully there will be a bright spot."

There are also concerns that the submarine could have sunk to depths believed to be as much as 700 metres (2,300 feet) -- well below what it was built to withstand.

On Thursday, the US military said it would send airborne teams to help in the search, while Australia said two ships were on their way to assist.

India said Thursday it had sent a ship to assist in the hunt.

But hopes of finding the crew alive were fading fast.

"It could also mean that the reserve tanks for the oxygen might potentially be damaged as well. So it will further reduce the oxygen level."

"It's not just about whether there will be enough oxygen, but it's also about the level of carbon dioxide within the interior that could determine the fate of the submariners," he said.

Among the worst was the 2000 sinking of the Kursk, the pride of Russia's Northern Fleet.

Most of its crew died instantly but some survived for several days -- with a few keeping heart-breaking diaries written in blood to their loved ones -- before suffocating.

Five years later, 20 people were killed by poisonous gas when a fire extinguishing system was accidentally activated on a Russian submarine being tested in the Sea of Japan.

bur/pb/oho

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Originally published as Frantic hunt for Indonesian submarine as rescuers hone in on radar contact



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