If the submarine has surfaced or "snorkeled" -- that is, raised a tube to the surface to refresh the vessel's air -- since then, the crew may have bought more time.
Anxious families have been waiting at Argentina's Mar del Plata navy base, to which the submarine was heading when it vanished, for news of their loved ones. Meanwhile, ships and aircraft from a dozen nations are scouring a swath of the South Atlantic for the missing vessel.
A spokesman for the UK Ministry of Defense confirmed on Thursday that a Royal Air Force C-130 aircraft had landed …show more content…
But rumors of a recent distress call are false, he said.
On Tuesday night, a British polar ship saw flares -- one orange and two white -- east of where it was conducting operations, prompting the dispatch of a search-and-rescue team consisting of three ships and two aircraft.
For many hours, they patrolled the area "and were not able to detect any magnetic anomaly," Balbi told CNN. The spokesman said previously that the flares aboard the San Juan are green and red.
The Argentine navy lost contact with the ARA San Juan shortly after the vessel's captain reported a failure in the battery system while the sub was submerged off Argentina's South Atlantic coast, the military said.
The submarine was traveling from a base in Argentina's far southern Tierra del Fuego archipelago to its home base in Mar del Plata on the northern side of the country.
Families' tense wait for news
Outside the Mar del Plata navy base, Federico Ibáñez is among the many family members and well-wishers hoping for good news. His brother, Cristian, is a radar technician on the San Juan.
Outside the Mar del Plata navy base, Federico Ibáñez says he hopes for good news about his