Argentina’s Navy says it has lost contact with one of its submarines carrying 44 crew members off the country’s southern coast.
The Navy says it has not had contact with the submarine, the San Juan, for 48 hours and has mounted an extensive search.
"We have not been able to find, or have visual or radar communication with the submarine," navy spokesman Enrique Balbi told a news conference.
He said the last time the military heard from the vessel was on Wednesday.
The German-built diesel-electric submarine had been returning from a routine mission from the naval base at Ushuaia, in Argentina's extreme south, to its base at Mar del Plata when it lost contact with the navy command.
Argentina said it launched an air and sea search on Thursday. Officials say an initial search into the vessel’s last known position, about 430 kilometers off the southeastern Valdez peninsula, turned up no clues.
"There may be a battery issue, a problem of power supply," Balbi said.
He urged people not to jump to conclusions. "I don't want to dramatize the issue. We're lacking communication and don't know what happened," he said.
The San Juan was commissioned in 1985 and underwent a re-fit that was completed in 2014.