Argentine navy insists that ARA San Juan, which is missing with 44 crew on board in south Atlantic for the past ten days, was in good condition when it set off on a training mission.
Hopes of finding the crew alive have faded as oxygen is expected to last only for 10 days if the submarine remains submerged.
The Argentine navy said on Thursday that an explosion occurred near the area where the submarine was last spotted.
The submarine last surfaced on November 15 after its crew complained of a blackout linked to short-circuit. After the problem was fixed, the vessel sent a message that it is submerging and returning to Mar del Plata naval base as per orders.
Navy spokesman Enrique Balbi told media on Saturday that all hope is not lost. Navy is looking for hard evidence and focused on finding the submarine.
Dismissing suggestions by relatives of the submarine crew that the vessel needed repairs, Balbi said all safety checks were carried out before the vessel set off on a training mission. However, some relatives have lost hopes and started mourning their loved ones.
Multinational search and rescue efforts are continuing. A Norwegian ship carrying an undersea rescue module, US navy’s ‘mini-subs’ equipped with sonar and a Russian Antonov aircraft carrying search equipment capable of reaching 6,000 meters (20,000 feet) below the sea surface are positioned in the rescue zone despite bad weather.
The submarine was sailing from Ushuaia port to Mar del Plata naval base when it went missing.