Indonesian Navy declares crew of 53 dead after submarine sinks in Bali Strait

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Tuesday, April 27, 2021

KRI Nanggala (402) in 2015
Image: Naval Surface Warriors.

On Saturday, the Indonesian Navy announced its submarine KRI Nanggala 402, which had lost contact early morning 4:30 am local time on Wednesday, had sunk and cracked off in the Bali Strait during a training exercise. The Navy also declared the submarine's crew of 53 dead, and said the wreckage was found.

According to Air Marshall Hadi Tjahjanto, pictures received were of the parts of the submarine such as the rear vertical rudder, anchors, outer pressure body, and embossed dive rudder.

The Navy stated on Saturday, the submarine was now considered sunk, not merely missing, having previously said that the oxygen supply would have run out by Saturday morning.

Per reports, items were found from the submarine that included a bottle of grease, prayer mats and a piece of metal pipe. The ones found near the last location of the submarine were parts of the submarine itself, and would not have gotten out unless there was water pressure, Tjahjanto said.

Tjahjanto also said there was an oil spill in the area and the debris were indications the submarine had a leakage due to diving too deep, or released the oil while rising to the surface.

The search team focused on determining the exact location of the submarine, but authorities warned it would be hard to do any salvage operation because of the deep waters.

The Singapore Navy's MV Swift Rescue submarine rescue ship helped in the effort and deployed a robot which took the images. Other countries including Malaysia, the United States, India and Australia aided search for potential rescue. KRI Rigel, an Indonesian ship, scanned the area where the submarine was presumed to have sunk using multi-beam sonar and a magnetometer.

According to military chief Yudo Margono, the scan determined the submarine to be at a depth of 850 metres. According to Al Jazeera, it was well below its survivable limit of 500 metres. "The cracks happened gradually in some parts when it went down", Margono said.


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