Hope fades after 9 days of searching for Argentine submarine

BUENOS AIRES – Families of the 44 crew members of a missing Argentine submarine gave up hope and went home on Friday after days of waiting at the sub’s Mar del Plata naval base, saddened and angered by evidence that the vessel may have exploded.

The submarine went missing nine days ago with only a one-week supply of oxygen onboard.

President Mauricio Macri said the search would continue and that he expected the submarine to be located in the days ahead.

He called for a “serious and deep” investigation into the incident once the search operation was complete.

“This means understanding how a submarine that had received midlife maintenance and was in perfect condition to navigate apparently suffered this explosion,” he said at a news conference.

On Friday evening, navy spokesperson Enrique Balbi said improving weather would allow for boats with underwater detection capabilities to conduct a search.

They will scan an area around where a sound thought to be an explosion was detected on the morning of November 15, the day the vessel sent its last signal.

“The weather, thank God, is favourable in that search area for scanning and mapping the seabed,” Mr Balbi said at a news conference.

Mr Macri and Mr Balbi both declined to comment directly on the widely held fear that the crew had died.

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