American help is on the way for Indonesian rescuers desperately trying to find a missing submarine before all hope of finding survivors disappears. An American reconnaissance aircraft has been sent to the search area in the Bali Sea as the Pentagon says it is "deeply saddened" by the disappearance of the sub with 53 people on board, the BBC reports. A sonar-equipped Australian ship with a helicopter joined two dozen Indonesian ships searching for the KRI Nanggala 402 Friday, reports the AP. They are focusing on an area where an oil slick was found. The Indonesian military says the search is being "maximized" now because if the sub, which vanished during a torpedo drill, is still intact, oxygen will run out around 3am Saturday local time—Friday afternoon in the US.
There’s been no conclusive evidence the oil slick was from the sub. Navy Chief of Staff Adm. Yudo Margono said oil could have spilled from a crack in the submarine’s fuel tank or the crew could have released fuel and fluids to reduce the vessel’s weight so it could surface. Margono said an unidentified object exhibiting high magnetism was located at a depth of 165 to 330 feet and officials held out hope it is the submarine. The navy said it believes, however, that the submarine sank to a depth of 2,000 to 2,300 feet, much deeper than its collapse depth, at which water pressure would be greater than the hull could withstand. The vessel’s collapse depth was estimated at 655 feet by a South Korean company that refitted the vessel in 2009-2012.
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