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Indonesian Navy Says Missing Submarine Sunk, Crew Of 53 Dead

The search to rescue a missing Indonesian submarine is now a recovery mission after the navy changed the status from "sub miss" to "sub sank" and declared the ship sunk and the crew of 53 dead on Saturday.

The KRI Nanggala 402 went missing early Wednesday morning off the coast of Bali during a training exercise, and Indonesian military officials estimated the sailors would run out of oxygen early Saturday.

The exact location of the vessel has not yet been pinpointed, Indonesian Navy Chief of Staff Yudo Margono said at a news conference on Saturday.

A few pieces of debris believed to be from the submarine were presented at the news conference including a bottle of grease, prayer mats and a piece of metal pipe, according to the Associated Press.

The debris was found about two miles from where the Nanggala was when it began its dive for a torpedo drill.

Navy officials do not believe the submarine exploded, but say it likely cracked under immense pressure from the depth it was at. The vessel was built with a maximum operating depth of 200 to 250 meters (about 655 to 820 feet), according to The New York Times, it likely sank to a depth of at least 850 meters (2,800 feet).

The German-built KRI Nanggala 402 had been in service in the Indonesian navy since the early 1980s and the navy says it was certified as seaworthy. In 2012, the sub was refitted in South Korea.

India, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, the U.S. and other countries sent ships and aircraft to assist with what many had hoped would be a rescue mission.

Some of those warships are expected to help pinpoint the exact location of the Nanggala using technology to detect metal or magnetic objects in the sea, according to CNN.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a tweet that he "was incredibly saddened to hear of the tragic loss of the 53 Indonesian sailors on board" and that his thoughts and prayers were with "the families of those sailors, and everyone in the Indonesian military as they cope with this tragedy."

Officials have not determined what caused the sub to sink.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.