Chilling warning on ‘suffocating’ Indo sub
Australia has joined a desperate search for a missing Indonesian submarine, but an expert has warned "time has already run out" for the 53 people on board.
Fears are growing for the KRI Nanggala 402 after it disappeared on Wednesday during a torpedo drill.
Rescue teams are facing a race-against-the-clock, with the crew's oxygen supply set to expire at 3am on Saturday morning, and Jakarta has accepted an offer from Australia to aid the search.
Two Australian vessels - the ANZAC class frigate Ballarat and the support ship Sirius - will be deployed to the search area on Friday and Tuesday respectively.
Ballarat is equipped with sonar capabilities and an MH-60R helicopter to aid the search.
The Royal Australian Navy's Rear Admiral Mark Hammond said Australia stood by Indonesia during their "distressing time".
"My thoughts are with the submariners of KRI Nanggala, their families and the Indonesian people. As always, we stand ready to assist our fellow mariners in the Indonesian navy," he said.
"These two Australian ships will help expand the search area and extend the duration of the search effort."
Defence remained in contact with Jakarta over requirements for further assistance, its statement said.
But the Australian Strategic Policy Institute's Dr Marcus Hellyer played down the chances of survival, noting history's only successful submarine rescue occurred more than 80 years ago.
"I don't want to be too pessimistic, but I suspect the time has already run out," he told Sky News.
"In events like these, it's almost universally the case that the submarine is destroyed very early on. It sinks to the bottom and the crew dies very early on."
Dr Hellyer warned there was no guarantee an Australian crew would be able to rescue survivors even if the vessel were located.
"You have to hope that those systems are compatible ... and that's probably not going to be the case because our submarines are very different from the Indonesian submarines," he said.
"Then you have to hope that somebody has survived long enough down there. All those things are fairly remote possibilities."
Foreign Minister Marise Payne on Thursday offered to "support our neighbour in any way we can".
"We are obviously very concerned about these reports. It's very distressing for families and particularly for the Indonesian navy," she told ABC radio.
Indonesian authorities claimed on Friday rescue teams had discovered an object with a "high magnetic force" north of Bali, where the vessel was thought to have disappeared.
It came after an oil spill was located nearby, potentially indicating damage to the submarine's fuel tank.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Thursday said he had ordered his defence force to deploy all available resources towards the search.
"The main priority is the safety of the 53 crew members," he said.
The submarine was feared to have sunken to 700m below sea level, which would be well beyond what the vessel could withstand.
Jakarta has insisted the submarine was battle-ready, but has declined to comment on reports it was over-capacity.
Originally published as Chilling warning on 'suffocating' Indo sub