PORT ORCHARD, Wash. — An Argentine navy submarine has been missing for nearly a week and there are concerns the crew may soon run out of oxygen if it hasn’t surfaced.
There are 44 crew members aboard the vessel and while a multinational search is underway, this story really hits close to home for those in our own submariner community.
“You can’t turn your back on the sea. You can’t take it for granted. The sea doesn’t forgive mistakes. It does not tolerate mistakes,” says retired Senior Chief Quarter Master Greg Pyle.
After serving 24 years in the U.S. Navy, much of that time inside a submarine, Pyle understands the dangers below the surface. He’s even survived a number of scary situations aboard a submarine.
“We’ve had fires and we’ve had flooding; they happen,” Pyle recalls.
He is one of many in our naval community closely following the story of a missing submarine from Argentina. The navy lost contact with the ARA San Juan submarine on November 15. The vessel’s captain reported a failure in the battery system while submerged off Argentina’s south Atlantic coast.
“The San Juan reported that she had an electrical problem and something to do with her batteries. The batteries are the main propulsion system of that submarine. Without propulsion, they are sorely crippled,” says Pyle.
Pyle says every hand on board is trained in responding to a multitude of emergencies.
“If you have a problem, you’re under the water and there’s no place to go. You either fix the problem and overcome it or you go down with the boat,” says Pyle.
Ships and aircraft from Argentina, the United States, Uruguay, Brazil and other nations have been searching for the sub on the surface and underwater.