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Argentina calls off submarine rescue mission

Argentinian authorities have abandoned the rescue operation for the crew of a submarine that disappeared two weeks ago.

The ARA San Juan went missing on 15 November, while on patrol in the South Atlantic with 44 crew on board.

Navy spokesman Enrique Balbi said on Thursday night that the rescue mission had “extended for more than twice what is estimated for a rescue”.

“More than double the number of days have passed where it would have been possible to rescue the crew.

“Despite the magnitude of our search, it has not been possible to find the submarine.”

:: Key questions on disappearance of ARA San Juan

A major search effort involving 30 boats and planes continues
Many countries have been involved in the search for the submarine

It was reported soon after its disappearance that the submarine would only have had about seven days of oxygen supply.

This could have been replenished if the submarine had been able to surface but there was no evidence it had.

The search operation for the submarine will continue.

More than a dozen countries, including the UK, have been involved in the search.

:: Missing sub brings old foes together

The German-built ARA San Juan was commissioned in 1985 and was most recently refitted in 2014.

Some relatives of the crew have claimed the navy put their loved ones at risk in a vessel that is more than 30 years old.

A woman looks at messages and signs in support of the 44 crew members of the missing at sea ARA San Juan submarine, placed on a fence at an Argentine Naval Base in Mar del Plata, Argentina November 22, 2017
A fence at a naval base in Mar del Plata in Argentina has become a shrine to those on board

The navy has previously said that an explosion was detected near the same time and place that the submarine disappeared.

This could have been caused by a “concentration of hydrogen” triggered by a battery problem earlier reported by the sub’s captain.

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