After the grim news this morning suggesting that the ARA San Juan submarine may have suffered an explosion last week, Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie was the first government official to issue an official statement and said it’s “a day of anguish and uncertainty for all Argentines.”
The minister made these statements during the closing ceremony of the “Argentina 2030 -Israel 2048” event taking place at the Foreign Ministry today.
“It is not an anecdotal day for Argentines. All of our solidarity goes to the people working on this, and for the family members of the crew that is in the San Juan,” he added.
A Navy spokesman informed in a press conference this morning that after gathering information from two different sources, they had confirmed the detection of an “anomalous, short, violent, singular and non-nuclear explosion that is consistent with an explosion” in the area in which the ARA San Juan submarine went missing.
This information came from the government of the United States along with “agencies from other countries” and the Austrian government. The US first disclosed this information yesterday evening, while the Argentine ambassador in Austria sent the same information this morning.
(The Vienna-based Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization has several seismic hydroacoustic stations put in place to make sure nuclear tests are not conducted anywhere).
“We will continue to search until we get concrete evidence of the submarine’s location, as well as its crew members. We will continue searching until we have some certainty. But we won’t jump to conclusions until we get some concrete information,” said Navy spokesman Enrique Balbi.
However, the family members of the missing crew took the information as confirmation of their deaths. In fact, Luis Tagliapietro, father of one of the crew members, said in a radio interview that a Navy official confirmed to him “there were no survivors.”
“One hundred percent. My son’s boss confirmed they are all dead because the explosion happened at a depth of between 200 and 1,000 meters, a week or eight days ago. It’s simple, there is not a lot to say about it. There is no human being who can survive to that,” he said.
The crew’s family members stationed in the Mar del Plata naval base, where they have been waiting for news in the last few days, reacted with indignation and anger to the news.
“They killed my brother, assholes!” an outraged family member said. “They killed my brother because they sent him out to sea in a ship that wasn’t in a condition to navigate,” the man said before leaving the base.
In the meantime, search and rescue operations continue working around the clock to try to find the submarine despite reports of an explosion. A spokesperson for the US Marines said that they are staying put until told otherwise by the Argentine Navy.”
“We’re staying until they say the search is over,” the spokesperson added.
That has not happened yet.