Indonesia Finds Submarine Broken in Three, Declares Crew Dead

Indonesian authorities said they found a missing Navy submarine five days after it disappeared, declaring all on board dead as the vessel sank to depths beyond what it was built to withstand.

The navy located the KRI Nanggala-402 broken in three parts at a depth of 838 meters (2,749 feet) in the waters off Bali on Sunday, according to Commander Yudo Margono. It carried 53 crew members.

“At such depth, there was little chance of finding survivors,” Margono said in a press briefing.

The German-made Nanggala disappeared in waters off Bali on Wednesday during a training exercise. Authorities had predicted oxygen in the vessel would be depleted by 3 a.m. on Saturday. More than 20 vessels, including those dispatched by the governments of Singapore and Australia, and five aircraft scoured the waters in search of the submarine. Some debris was discovered on Saturday around the area where the vessel was located.

The submarine, which at more than 40 years old is among the world’s oldest in service, was not built to withstand pressure beyond 230 meters, said Ridzwan Rahmat, principle defense analyst at Janes.

There was indication that the crew had attempted to break out of the sinking submarine with the discovery of a torn escape suit, Margono said.

“The suit was normally kept inside a box,” Margono said. “Someone must have taken it out, but did not have the chance to use it.”

The navy is now coordinating with other agencies to lift the wreckage from the seabed. Margono dismissed the possibility of human error in the incident, saying the crew had met all necessary requirements for the dive.


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