Time could be running out for missing Argentine sub; flares reported

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On Sunday, search units were largely relying on information gathered from a British polar exploration vessel, the HMS Protector, which was equipped with an underwater search probe and was following the path taken by the submarine, the ARA San Juan.

"That noise was analysed, the acoustic signature, and it does not correspond to a submarine, to a pattern of what would be hull blows in the Morse system, it is a continuous, constant noise, which could be biological noise", Navy Spokesperson Captain Enrique Balbi said in a statement on Monday here. The submarine had reported an electrical malfunction, before losing contact with authorities last Wednesday, in the South Atlantic, some 430 kilometers off the Argentine coast.

More than a dozen boats and aircraft from Argentina, the United States, Britain, Chile and Brazil have joined the search effort. Authorities have mainly been scanning from the sky as storms have halted the maritime hunt.

Hopes for a successful search for the submarine waned when the navy said satellite calls detected over the weekend did not in fact come from the vessel.

Sounds detected in the south Atlantic are not from a missing Argentine submarine, the navy says. The craft was navigating normally, underwater, at a speed of five knots toward Mar del Plata when it was last heard from, he said.

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The ARA San Juan was inaugurated in 1983, making it the newest of the three submarines in the Argentine Navy's fleet.

The sub was journeying from the extreme southern port of Ushuaia to the coastal city of Mar del Plata.

Speaking at a forum on open government in Buenos Aires, Argentina's President Mauricio Macri said that "in these hard hours, I did not want to start without sending once again all my support to the families of the crew of the ARA San Juan submarine". Grief counselors, five psychologists and a psychiatrist, are lending their support to the families of the crew members.

The U.S. Navy Southern Command said the SRC uses advanced technology capable of reaching depths of 850 feet and rescuing six people at a time. Courtesy Ronald Gutridge/U.S. Navy/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY."Today is a critical day", said Maria Victoria Morales, the mother of Luis Garcia, an electrical technician aboard the vessel. That included the replacement of its four diesel engines and its electric propeller engines, according to specialist publication Jane's Sentinel.