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Relatives mourn missing Argentine submarine crew

28 November 2017

A woman sits next to a banner in support of the 44 crew members of the missing at sea ARA San Juan submarine, outside an Argentine naval base in Mar del Plata, Argentina November 25, 2017.

But many relatives of the crew have lost hope since the navy announced Thursday that there had been an explosion on board the submarine, which experts said was likely linked to a problem with its batteries and would likely have been catastrophic.

An global search effort has so far failed to trace the ARA San Juan which disappeared in the South Atlantic Ocean on November 15.

Search continues for Argentina's missing submarine

"The disappearance and current search of the ARA San Juan submarine has touched all Argentines", President Mauricio Macri said in his first public comments about the missing sub at the navy's headquarters in Buenos Aires.

Argentina's official weather service ordered an alert for 'intense winds of between 50 and 90 kilometers per hour (31 and 56 mph), with gusts, ' in Chubut province, the location from which search vessels were sailing.

Asked by a reporter about the chances that the crew may still be alive, Balbi left that as a possibility. "If hydrogen is the reason, we do not know why the concentration has occurred", Balbi said at the press conference.

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The U.S. Navy's Undersea Rescue Command sent a ship from Chubut's port Comodoro Rivadavia on Sunday, outfitted with a remotely operated mini-sub to be used as a rescue vehicle if the San Juan is found.

'Hope always high, ' said the burly Vallejos, his posture ramrod straight and eyes hidden behind sunglasses.

Families of the crew were meanwhile stuck in an emotional purgatory.

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"My commitment is with the truth", he said, adding the tragedy "will require a serious, in-depth investigation that will yield certainty about what has happened".

More than a dozen planes and ships have been participating in the multinational search across an area of about 480,000 square kilometres, which is roughly the size of Spain.

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Relatives mourn missing Argentine submarine crew