Argentina abandons submarine crew rescue attempt

ARA San Juan: Argentina calls off rescue mission for missing submarine crew but continues search for vessel

Rescue mission for Argentine submarine crew ends, search for sub continues

The search for 44 sailors on board a lost Argentine submarine has ended, leaving nearly no hope for their survival.

"We did not find any evidence of the shipwreck in the areas that were explored", navy spokesman Enrique Balbi said at the navy's headquarters in Buenos Aires.

The search for the vessel itself will continue.

Ships and aircraft still are scouring the South Atlantic for the ARA San Juan, which disappeared November 15 a few hundred kilometers off Argentina's coast.

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The rescue operation for crew members of the missing San Juan submarine was declared over on Thursday, but the search mission continues, Argentine Navy spokesman Enrique Balbi announced.

Hopes of finding survivors had already dimmed because experts say the crew only had enough oxygen to last up to 10 days if the sub remained intact under the sea.

Relatives of the crew broke down as the heard news of the navy discontinuing rescue operations for the 44 crew members.

"I don't understand this arbitrary and unjustified decision", Luis Tagliapietra, the father of 27-year-old crew member Alejandro Tagliapietra, told local TV.

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"It's unusually cruel. Every day, it's a new blow".

"No one will be rescued", Balbi said.

The final message from the submarine reported a leak of seawater and the beginnings of a battery fire, but navy Adm. Gabriel Gonzalez said he didn't consider the incident an emergency.

After contact with the San Juan was lost, the Vienna-based Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization, an worldwide body that runs a global network of listening posts created to check for secret atomic blasts, detected a noise the navy said could have been the submarine's implosion.

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Among the ARA San Juan's crew was Argentina's first female navy submariner: Eliana Krawczyk, 35.

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