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Indonesian Submarine Broke Into 3 Pieces; 53 Confirmed Dead


An Indonesian navy patrol ship returns after a search operation for submarine KRI Nanggala that went missing while conducting a training exercise, April 21, 2021, off Banyuwangi, East Java, Indonesia, April 25, 2021.

The Indonesian submarine that sank in the Bali Sea has been found, broken into three pieces, and all 53 crew members have been declared dead, the country’s military said Sunday.

The vessel’s wreckage was located Saturday on the ocean floor, the military announced, by a sonar scan that detected the submarine at 850 meters (2,790 feet), far beyond its diving range.

Rescuers found new objects, including a life vest, believed to belong to those aboard the 44-year-old KRI Nanggala-402 submarine. Indonesia lost contact with the sub Wednesday as it prepared to conduct a torpedo drill.

"The KRI Nanggala is divided into three parts, the hull of the ship, the stern of the ship, and the main parts are all separated, with the main part found cracked. There are scattered parts of the submarine and its interior in the water," Military chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto told reporters.

President Joko Widodo sent the families of the victims his condolences.

"All of us Indonesians express our deep sorrow over this tragedy, especially to the families of the submarine crew,” he said.

The cause of the sinking has not been determined. The Indonesian navy had previously said an electrical failure could have prevented the submarine from executing emergency procedures to resurface.

Indonesia police said it would deploy teams to Bali and the Java town of Banyuwangi to help identify the victims once the bodies are retrieved.

Chief of U.S. Naval Operations Admiral Mike Gilday said he was deeply saddened to learn of the sub’s sinking.

In a statement Saturday he said that “as sailors, we share a love for the sea and have a bond of fellowship with all who sail on it. We have a respect for its dangers and also understand the importance of the world’s oceans to our collective way of life.”

Gilday reaffirmed that Indonesia is a good friend and partner of the United States.

“Despite this tragic loss,” he said, “it is my hope that we will continue to operate together in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific.”