A missing Indonesian submarine has been found, broken into at least three parts, on the bottom of the Bali Sea, army and navy officials said on Sunday, as the president sent his condolences to relatives of the 53 crew members.
Rescuers found new items, including a life jacket, which they said belonged to those aboard the 44-year-old KRI Nanggala-402, which lost contact on Wednesday as it prepared to perform a torpedo exercise.
“Based on the evidence, it can be said that the KRI Nanggala sank and its entire crew is dead,” said military leader Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto.
Navy Chief of Staff Yudo Margono said the crew was not responsible for the crash.
“The KRI Nanggala is divided into three parts, the hull of the ship, the stern of the ship and the main parts are all separated, the main part found cracked,” he said.
President Joko Widodo earlier confirmed the discovery in the Bali Sea and sent his condolences to the families of the victims.
“All of us Indonesians express our deep sorrow at this tragedy, especially to the families of the submarine crew.”
Search teams said on Saturday they found items including fragments of prayer rugs and a bottle of periscope lubricant near the submarine’s last known location, which led the Navy to believe the ship had cracked .
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Margono said on Saturday that a sonar scan detected a submarine-like object 2,800 feet beyond the Nanggala dive beach.
More than a dozen helicopters and ships search the area where contact has been lost, with help from the United States, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and India.
Residents of the eastern Java town of Banyuwangi, which hosts the naval base from which search and rescue operations are conducted, have joined national calls to speed up the modernization of Indonesia’s defense forces.
“This can be a learning point for the government to advance its military technology and be careful how it uses its (existing) technology as the lives of its people are at stake,” said Hein Ferdy Sentoso, 29 years.
The most populous country in Southeast Asia has sought to revamp its military capacity, but some equipment is still old and there have been fatal accidents in recent years.
Indonesia had five submarines before the last crash: two German-built Type 209s, including the Nanggala, and three new South Korean ships.