Hopes of finding 53 crew on missing submarine fade as ‘oxygen deadline’ passes

There are fears that the 53-strong crew of a missing Indonesian submarine have died.

The deep sea vessel was part of a torpedo drill off the coast of Bali on Wednesday, but failed to relay results to the surface as expected and has not been heard from since.

At 8pm last night the KRI Nanggala 402 officially 'ran out' of onboard oxygen, leaving army chiefs fearing a catastrophe on the 43-year-old ship has wiped out the crew.

Sky News reports that the Indonesian navy is investigating whether the sub lost power during a dive and could not carry out emergency procedures as it descended to a depth of 600-700m – which is much deeper than the sub is designed to withstand.

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The Bali Sea can reach depths of more than 1,500m. To put it in to context, Ben Nevis is 1,345m high meaning the moutain could be dropped in to the sea and not be visible.

Other theories being explored include an object with "high magnetic force" that was seen on Thursday "floating" at a depth of 50-100m.

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An aerial search had earlier spotted an oil spill near the sub's last location.

Naval units from multiple countries have joined the search, with all submarines going silent on radar every half hour for three minutes to give any distress call a clear channel, and for everyone to be listening and poised to act as soon as possible.

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But the passing of the oxygen deadline is a major blow to hopes the ship and its crew will resurface safely.

Despite the Indonesian President Joko Widodo asking citizens to pray for the crew's safe return.

Mr Widodo said: "Our main priority is the safety of the 53 crew members.

"To the family of the crew members, I can understand your feelings and we are doing our best to save all crew members on board."

However, the families of the missing crew members are said to be upbeat and positive.

Ratih Wardhani, the sister of 49-year-old crewman Wisnu Subiyantoro, said: "The family is in a good condition and keeps praying.

"We are optimistic that the Nanggala can be rescued with all the crew."

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