Hope fades as search for Argentine submarine enters ninth day

Comandante Espora Argentine ship sails off the naval base in Mar del Plata Argentina Saturday Nov. 18 2017. This ship is part of a searching crew to find a missing submarine

Comandante Espora Argentine ship sails off the naval base in Mar del Plata Argentina Saturday Nov. 18 2017. This ship is part of a searching crew to find a missing submarine

Hope is fading among relatives of the 44 crew members aboard a missing Argentine submarine.

The submarine, called the San Juan, was launched in 1983 and underwent maintenance in 2008 in Argentina.

No sign of the Argentine submarine lost in the South Atlantic since November 15 has been found despite a massive worldwide search effort, while families of the 44 crew members face the increasing likelihood that their loved ones will never return.

Reports of a sound detected underwater near the submarine's last known position off Argentina's southern coast in the Atlantic last week suggest it may have imploded at depth.

Maria Villareal, the mother of one crew member, said: 'At this point, the truth is I have no hope that they will come back'.

"Despite all the effort that has been carried out, we haven't been able to find the San Juan submarine", Balbi told reporters.

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Search goes on for missing sub as hope fades

Argentina's navy has been fiercely criticized for its handling of the operation since first reporting the submarine overdue at its Mar del Plata base on November 16.

But a multinational search and rescue effort continued Saturday, as a Norwegian ship carrying a US undersea rescue module prepared to weigh anchor for the search zone, despite worsening weather.

"The problem with being the loved one of someone who is missing is that the mourning process can not start, because they are still out there somewhere", local psychologist Guillermo Bruchstein said in a television interview Saturday.

Some family members have denounced the navy's response to the disappearance and the condition of the 30-year-old vessel.

The US Navy said it had deployed unmanned underwater vehicles, or "mini-subs" equipped with sonar, to join the search. Navy officials and outside experts worry that even if the ARA San Juan is intact but submerged, its crew may be running out of oxygen. The armed forces have had to face dwindling resources and lack of training since the end of a military dictatorship in the early 1980s.

"Until we have the complete information, we do not have to look for the guilty, to look for those responsible".

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