By Cleve R. Wootson Jr. | The Washington Post
As days, then weeks passed with no contact from the ARA San Juan submarine, Argentines began to accept the fact that what had once been an aging staple of the nation’s naval fleet had been suddenly and tragically transformed into a 60-foot-long metal tomb.
But as the nation mourned the anniversary of the San Juan’s disappearance on Thursday, painful questions lingered: What horrible tragedy had befallen the submarine? And, most importantly, would the craft and the bodies of the 44 sailors aboard ever be recovered?
In a bittersweet announcement Saturday, authorities said they may soon have answers to those twin mysteries. The San Juan has been found nearly 3,000 feet beneath the ocean’s surface in waters off the Valdes Peninsula in Argentine Patagonia, according to The Associated Press.
Almost exactly a year ago, the diesel-electric ARA San Juan was returning to its base south of Buenos Aires after a routine mission to Ushuaia, near the southern tip of South America, the Argentine navy said.
Then, suddenly, it went silent.
If trouble arose, the crew of the submarine was supposed to surface and essentially phone home, but that never happened.
Still, hope lingered despite the radio silence. The submarine was full of dozens of trained and resourceful sailors. In addition, the San Juan had multiple ways of communicating, as well as an ample supply of food and oxygen.
Even if the sub couldn’t communicate or surface, authorities hoped they could find it before it was too late.
The Argentine navy called in reinforcements from up and down the Western Hemisphere, an international team from the United States, Britain, Brazil and Chile and a dozen other countries combining manpower and technological know-how.
But in those initial days of the search, the news kept getting worse.
The search-and-rescue ships were battered by 50 mph winds …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Nation, World