Indonesia says 53 crew of lost sub are dead, wreckage found

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An Indonesian navy patrol ship sails to join the search for submarine KRI Nanggala that went missing while participating in a training exercise on Wednesday, off Banyuwangi, East Java, Indonesia Sunday, April 25, 2021. Indonesias navy on Saturday declared its missing submarine had sunk and cracked open after finding items from the vessel over the past two days, apparently ending hope of finding any of the 53 crew members alive. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)

BANYUWANGI – Indonesia’s military on Sunday officially said all 53 crew members from a submarine that sank and broke apart last week are dead, and that search teams had located the vessel's wreckage on the ocean floor.

The grim announcement comes a day after Indonesia said the submarine was considered sunk, not merely missing, but did not explicitly say whether the crew was dead. Officials previously said the KRI Nanggala 402's oxygen supply would have run out early Saturday, three days after the vessel went missing off the resort island of Bali.

“We received underwater pictures that are confirmed as parts of the submarine, including its rear vertical rudder, anchors, outer pressure body, embossed dive rudder and other ship parts," military chief Hadi Tjahjanto told reporters in Bali on Sunday.

"With this authentic evidence, we can declare that KRI Nanggala 402 has sunk and all the crew members are dead,” Tjahjanto said.

An underwater robot equipped with cameras documented the lost submarine lying in at least three pieces on the ocean floor at a depth of 838 meters (2,750 feet), said Adm. Yudo Margono, the navy’s chief of staff.

That’s much deeper than the submarine's collapse depth of 200 meters (655 feet), at which point water pressure would be greater than the hull could withstand, according to earlier navy statements.

The cause of the submarine’s sinking remains uncertain. The navy previously said an electrical failure could have left the submarine unable to execute emergency procedures to resurface.

Margono said emergency survival suits that are normally kept in boxes were found floating underwater, apparently indicating the crew may have tried to put them on during the emergency.