A submarine that disappeared with fifty-three crew members on board in Indonesia has been discovered divided into three parts off the coast of Bali, and Indonesia’s military has also officially declared that all 53 crew members are dead.
The sombre announcement comes a day after Indonesia said the submarine, which went missing last week, was considered sunk.
Officials had also said that the KRI Nanggala 402’s oxygen supply would have run out early on Saturday, three days after the vessel went missing off the resort island of Bali, and Navy Chief of Staff Yudo Margono stated it was divided into three pieces.
Authorities said that more pieces from the doomed submarine were also recovered, including an anchor and fluorescent orange safety suits for emergencies.
The discovery came a day after the navy had first confirmed the retrieval of fragments from the submarine and reported that it had sunk, effectively ending any prospect of finding survivors.
Among the earlier items recovered was a piece of the torpedo system and a bottle of grease used to lubricate periscopes. They also found a prayer mat commonly used in Indonesia, the world’s most populated Muslim majority nation.
Warships, aircraft and hundreds of military personnel had led a desperate quest for the submarine since it disappeared during training exercises, hoping for a miracle rescue before its known oxygen supplies ran out.
But on Sunday, Indonesian military head Hadi Tjahjanto said there was no possibility of finding any of the crew alive, and he said it was with the deepest sadness that all 53 personnel onboard had passed.
He said that they received underwater pictures that were established as the parts of the submarine, including its rear vertical rudder, anchors, outer pressure body, embossed dive rudder and other ship components, and said that with this actual proof, they could say that KRI Nanggala 402 had sunk and all the crew members were dead.
The navy previously said it thought that the submarine had fallen to a depth of 2,000-2,300ft, much deeper than its collapse depth of 655ft, at which point water pressure would be greater than the hull could endure.
Tjahjanto said that an underwater robot equipped with cameras and used by Singaporean vessel MV Swift Rescue rendered the images, while the Indonesian vessel KRI Rigel had scanned the region where the submarine was thought to have sunk using multibeam sonar and a magnetometer.
This was a terrifying thing to happen, but hopefully, it was all quick and none of the sailors suffered because it’s a dreadful way to lose your life, and it’s just an all-round sad story because even if they did believe they might perish, they would have had no option but to obey orders.
And it’s really eye-opening what shallow depths most subs can handle – if you sink anywhere deep, you’ve had it, and pretty fast – now they must find out what caused the sub to break up.
It’s very brave folk who do this sort of job and may they all rest in peace.
It would have been a quick death if the submarine imploded, but not so good if they ran out of oxygen because no amount of training would have prepared them for that, and it’s such a stressful job because it impacts on the families too who are never free of worry while their loved ones are away.