(ARGENTINE, LANKAPUVATH) –Amid reports a missing Argentine submarine tried unsuccessfully to contact naval bases seven times, a top navy officer said Sunday there is no indication the calls came from the ARA San Juan.
“The calls are being analyzed, but we do not have clear evidence that they came from that unit,” said Gabriel Gonzales, who is in charge of the base where the submarine was slated to arrive Sunday, according to state-run news agency Télam.
Earlier Sunday, the country’s defense ministry said the calls came to different bases between 10:52 a.m. and 3:42 p.m. Saturday, and lasted between four and 36 seconds, the ministry said in a statement to CNN en Español.
“We received seven satellite calls that likely came from the submarine San Juan. We are working hard to locate it. To the families of the 44 crew members: We hope you’ll have them home soon,” Argentina’s Defense Minister Oscar Aguad tweeted.
The military is working with a US company that specializes in satellite communication to determine the location of the submarine that vanished three days ago.
The ARA San Juan submarine and its 44 crew members were traveling through the Atlantic Ocean from a base in southern Argentina’s Tierra del Fuego archipelago to their home port in Mar del Plata. The sub was scheduled to arrive at its destination Sunday.
The submarine was last spotted Wednesday in the San Jorge Gulf, a few hundred kilometers off the coast of southern Argentina’s Patagonia region and nearly midway between the bases.
As officials await word on the submarine, relatives of crew members gathered Saturday for Mass at a navy base in Mar del Plata, where they prayed for their safe return.