Indonesia navy declares lost sub sunk, all 53 aboard dead
BANYUWANGI, Indonesia — Indonesia’s navy on Saturday declared its missing submarine had sunk and cracked open, killing 53 crew members aboard, after finding items from the vessel over the past two days.
Military chief Hadi Tjahjanto said the presence of an oil slick as well as debris near the site of the submarine’s last dive on Wednesday off the island of Bali were clear proof the KRI Nanggala 402 sank. Indonesia earlier considered the vessel to be only missing.
A U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon, a maritime patrol aircraft specially designed to look for things like submarines, landed early Saturday and had been set to join the search, along with 20 Indonesian ships, a sonar-equipped Australian warship and four Indonesian aircraft.
Navy Chief Yudo Margono told a press conference in Bali, “If it’s an explosion, it will be in pieces. The cracks happened gradually in some parts when it went down from 300 meters to 400 meters to 500 meters. … If there was an explosion, it would be heard by the sonar.”
U.S. Navy joins frantic search for missing Indonesian sub
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has also offered additional assistance to Indonesia, which could include undersea search assets.
The navy previously said it believes the submarine sank to a depth of 2,000 to 2,300 feet, much deeper than its collapse depth of 655 feet, at which point water pressure would be greater than the hull could withstand.
The cause of the disappearance is still uncertain. The navy had previously said an electrical failure could have left the submarine unable to execute emergency procedures to resurface.