Wreckage has been found in the hunt for the lost Indonesian submarine with 53 crew members after search teams discovered items from the sunken vessel, said the country’s navy.
Rescuers found several items including parts of a torpedo straightener, a grease bottle believed to be used to oil the periscope and prayer rugs from the submarine, according to Navy Chief of Staff Admiral Yudo Margono.
He said: ‘With the authentic evidence we found believed to be from the submarine, we have now moved from the sub miss phase to sub sunk.’
Indonesia earlier considered the submarine that disappeared on Thursday off Bali as just missing. But it now declares the submarine as officially sunk with no hopes of finding any survivors.
Officials said oxygen supply on the KRI Nanggala-402, which vanished on Wednesday as it prepared to conduct a torpedo drill, ran out early Saturday.
Rescuers found several items including parts of a torpedo straightener, a grease bottle believed to be used to oil the periscope and prayer rugs from the submarine
A military officer holds a piece of debris believed to be from the missing Indonesian Navy submarine KRI Nanggala during a press conference at a command in Ngurah Rai Airport, Bali
Indonesian Navy Chief Handi Tjahjanto, centre, and Indonesia police chief Listyo Sigit Prabowo, right, speak to media as they display debris found in the waters during their search
Rescue teams had been battling against time to find the 44-year-old submarine, which officials said would only have enough air to last until around 3am Saturday morning – 8pm Friday BST.
An American reconnaissance plane, P-8 Poseidon, had landed early Saturday and is set to join the search, along with 20 Indonesian ships, a sonar-equipped Australian warship and four Indonesian aircraft.
Singaporean rescue ships were also expected later Saturday, while Malaysian rescue vessels were due to arrive on Sunday.
Indonesia military spokesperson Djawara Whimbo previously said: ‘We keep doing the search until we find it and whatever the result.’
The submarine lost contact after its last reported dive Wednesday off the resort island.
An Indonesian air force pilot said six tonnes of equipment had been flown to a base to help with the search including underwater balloons to help lift a vessel.
Indonesia’s navy says items have been found from a missing submarine, indicating the vessel with 53 crew members has sunk, according to Navy Chief of Staff Admiral Yudo Margono
A member of Indonesian Navy personnel walks past a map of the searching area for the submarine KRI Nanggala-402
But Whimbo said Indonesia’s hydrographic vessel was still unable to detect an unidentified object exhibiting high magnetism that was earlier detected located at a depth of 50 to 100 meters (165 to 330 feet).
He said: ‘The object is floating in the water, so maybe it is moving.’
The country’s navy has previously said it was investigating whether the submarine lost power during a dive and could not carry out emergency procedures as it descended to a depth of 600-700 metres, well beyond its survivable limits.
There have been no signs of life from the submarine, but family members of the 53 crew members have held out hope that the massive search effort would find the vessel in time.
Ratih Wardhani, the sister of 49-year-old crewman Wisnu Subiyantor, had said: ‘The family is in a good condition and keeps praying. We are optimistic that the Nanggala can be rescued with all the crew.’
Berda Asmara, the wife of crew member Guntur Ari Prasetyo, 39, who has sailed on the Nanggala for 10 years, said: ‘I hope that they will be found alive. We had a video call. He told me that he would go sailing and asked me to pray for him.’
A military officer looks at pictures of the crew members on the missing KRI Nanggala which is feared to have ran out of oxygen
Indonesian SAR Agency (BASARNAS) vessel arrive at pier Tanjung Wangi for the search of submarine KRI Nanggala 402
Indonesian Navy’s KRI Karel Satsuitubun-356 is seen while preparing to dock at Tanjung Wangi port, as it is being prepared for rescue operation of the KRI Nanggala-402
The KRI Alugoro seen yesterday as it helped search for the missing submarine which is feared to have been lost with all hands
Indonesian President Joko Widodo has ordered all-out efforts to locate the submarine and asked Indonesians to pray for the crew’s safe return.
The search focused on an area near the starting position of its last dive where an oil slick was found but there is no conclusive evidence so far the oil slick was from the sub.
Navy Chief of Staff Adm. Yudo Margono has said oil could have spilled from a crack in the submarine’s fuel tank or the crew could have released fuel and fluids to reduce the vessel’s weight so it could surface.
The navy however, believes the submarine sank to a depth of 600-700 meters (2,000-2,300 feet), much deeper than its collapse depth of 200 meters (655 feet), at which water pressure would be greater than the hull could withstand.
The cause of the disappearance is still uncertain. The navy has said an electrical failure could have left the submarine unable to execute emergency procedures to resurface.
The submarine was conducting a torpedo drill in waters 60 miles north of the island of Bali
On Friday, the Pentagon said U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had spoken with his Indonesian counterpart and offered additional support, which could include undersea search assets.
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi on Thursday the ‘United States would do everything possible to support Indonesia’s search and rescue effort,’ a spokeswoman said.
Two Australian Navy ships were heading for the search area including a frigate with special sonar capabilities, the defence department said.
Neighbouring Singapore and Malaysia as well as the United States and Australia are also among the nations helping in the hunt with nearly two dozen warships deployed to scour a search zone covering about 10 square nautical miles (34 square kilometres).
Indonesia operates five submarines – two German-built Type 209s including Nanggala and three newer South Korean vessels.