Argentine submarine (44 aboard) goes missing

Wikipedia page on the ARA San Juan (S-42).

According to Wikipedia, Argentina has 3 subs: ARA Salta (S-31), ARA Santa Cruz (S-41) and ARA San Juan (S-42).

Sure it is. It is getting mentioned amongst other news stories, it is just not getting 24/7 “crisis mode” coverage, where newsreaders take turns interviewing each other over the 30 seconds worth of information known about it.

When there’s not much new info coming out and the people at risk aren’t civilians, a story usually doesn’t carry too much beyond the country of origin. I’m gonna bet this story is still real big in Argentina’s media.

Although that Chilean mine cave-in a few years ago seems to have caught the worldwide public attention more.

I think a critical difference there is the miners were found to be alive during the first half-life of the story. So it quickly changed from “Miners (probably) killed in accident” to “Miners alive but trapped. Racing the clock to rescue them”. Which is a much *MUCH *more compelling story.

Right now the submarine story is stuck at “Sub is missing, air has (99.99%) run out, and Navies are bobbing about on the ocean looking fruitlessly.” Not much pathos there. Had the sub been found on the bottom at a rescuable depth within 24-36 hours while the story was still fresh it’d be the worldwide media sensation of the month.

Subs are an economical naval weapon, excellent assets for doing intelligence, infiltration or minelaying operations.

Top of the page at 5 out of 7 Buenos Aires news websites this morning. Everyone’s trying to keep up a brave face and say we’re focused on the mission but… it’s 7 days since last hail, and even if the boat were sitting intact on the bottom, if that was the last time they were at surface or snorkel depth they are crossing their air supply specs. There’s already discussion of what could be so fast and catastrophic that there was no chance to do an emergency blow or release the locator buoys.

Several of the larger South American countries have prided themselves on having relatively advanced navies for a long time. Brazil and Peru ordered subs pre WWI (besides an experimental sub built in Peru in 1879).

Argentina’s first were the Salta, Santa Fe and Santiago del Estero built in Italy in the early 1930’s. The second and third names were reused for 4 ex-USN WWII built subs (one pair replaced by another pair, the third Santa Fe was lost in the Falklands War in 1982), then the two 1970’s built German Type 209’s Salta and San Luis (the latter engaged British forces unsuccessfully in 1982), then the two TR 1700 types Santa Cruz and San Juan built in the 80’s.

Its big news on a couple of military forums I frequent. The membership there is probably mostly former US and UK servicemen. Many ex-Navy and some former submariners. They seem interested understandably. A case of, but for the Grace of God… I would guess.

Additionally, subs have greater strategic weight than their size or cost might imply. It’s the stealth factor. The oceans being as big and complex as they are, it is difficult even for advanced navies to be certain where a potentially hostile sub is or what it is up to. This gives even obsolescent submarines a certain deterrent value. Potential opponents who would be concerned about the submarine threat must commit a considerable amount military assets simply guarding against what an unlocated sub might do even if it is actually hundreds of miles away.

In theory, this allows a minor naval power to be taken more seriously on the international stage even without actual war breaking out.

Dying in a lost sub slowly running out of air would be near the top of my list of nightmares.

It’s getting some coverage in the UK because of Royal Navy and RAF involvement in the search, including deployment of some assets to the Argentinian mainland. That’s actually a fairly big thing given the politics involved.

I was speaking in generalities.

But yeah, that whole “Former enemies come together for a humanitarian cause. Spirit of fair play, etc.” narrative is a natural human interest story. So it’ll be resonating in the UK more than it might if, say, France or Japan had lent similar support.

Especially if you’re the last one to die.

Drowning in one, as the water slooowly comes in, and it’s near freezing seawater temperatures, and it’s nearly complete darkness, waiting for the water to fill the compartment…that’s up there for me.

Rather like “a fleet in being”.

As a kid the movies about WWII subs scared me a lot more than the movies about WWII air combat.

That had a lot to do with my going USAF airplanes rather than USN subs. Even today I have a hard time watching those YouTubes of hulks being sunk as artificial reefs. All those cameras watching the water level rising then rushing in then the camera is underwater and the world quickly turns green, dark, then … nothing. :eek: :shiver: :eek:

You’ll have to excuse me, I’ve gotta go outside and watch the sky for a few minutes.

It’s been over a week since the last radio comm with the sub. Time is critical.

usni.org: U.S. Navy Unmanned Undersea Teams Now Underway as Part of Argentine Submarine Search

OK, so death in a sub accident, regardless of how you go, isn’t good.

I mean, I suppose you could fall, hit your head and die instantly, that wouldn’t be bad. But the whole “something goes wrong with the sub” thing…nope.

Well, it depends… If it is an uncontrolled descent that carries the sub below its “crush depth”… It is assumed that you would die instantaneously when the sub implodes catastrophically (vide Thresher. From the wiki article: “… the SOSUS data indicates an implosion of Thresher at 09:18:24, at a depth of 2,400 feet (730 m), 400 feet (120 m) below its predicted collapse depth. The implosion took 0.1 seconds, too fast for the human nervous system to perceive.”).

The minutes until that point, of course, are going to be anything but fun :-/

Presumably they were too busy trying to fix the problem when, it happened.

In real life, Black Box recordings and radio chatter which has been recorded has show that people remain calm and attempting to fix the problem until, the end. The Columbia pilots were still trying to correct the flight path as the thing started breaking up.

There are reports of a loud noisewhich may or may not be related to the sub’s disappearance. Investigations continue.

Looking at the map from that article, it doesn’t look like their course took them off the edge of the shelf but it’s hard to tell for sure.

BBC reports its an explosion
Missing submarine: ‘Explosion’ heard - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-42100620