The Indonesian Navy lost contact with a submarine on Wednesday morning during a military exercise. The navy suspects that the missing submarine with 53 people on board lies at a depth of 600 to 700 metres. The vessel is not made for that depth.
The submarine is built for a depth of 200 to 250 metres. So if it is indeed at 700 metres, possibly at the bottom of the sea, that would be dangerous for the crew. The vessel may have reached this depth due to a power failure during diving, which would have caused it to lose control and start sinking.
The submarine was supposed to fire torpedoes on Wednesday and then send the results back to command. However, shortly after it went underwater, it disappeared from radar.
Although the submarine itself has not yet been found, a helicopter team spotted an oil slick at the spot in the sea where the submarine was supposed to have gone underwater. This enabled the navy to narrow down the search area. The oil could indicate that the vessel was damaged and the fuel tank was damaged by the water pressure.
Two navy ships and approximately four hundred personnel have gone out to search. A third ship is en route from the Indonesian capital Jakarta. The navy has also sent out an international distress signal. Australia, India and Singapore, among others, have said they are ready to help, according to the Indonesian Ministry of Defence.
The submarine in question is the KRI Nanggala 402, built in 1978 in Germany.
Picture by U.S. Pacific Fleet/Flickr.