Argentina fires head of navy after submarine tragedy

Family, friends and supporters of crew members demonstrate to demand answers over the tragedy on Dec 3, 2017.
Family, friends and supporters of crew members demonstrate to demand answers over the tragedy on Dec 3, 2017.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

BUENOS AIRES (REUTERS, NYTIMES) - Argentina fired the head of its navy a month after a submarine disappeared in the South Atlantic with 44 crew members onboard, a government spokesman said on Saturday (Dec 16).

Local paper La Nacion had reported earlier, citing anonymous sources, that Navy Admiral Marcelo Eduardo Hipolito Srur was let go by the defence minister.

The ARA San Juan submarine has not been located and is thought to have exploded.

The vessel had been on a routine patrol off the coast of Patagonia when it last made radio contact on Nov 15.

Two weeks later, after a search and rescue mission failed to turn up any evidence of the submarine or its crew, Argentine authorities announced that the effort had become a recovery operation.

Military personnel from 18 countries took part in the initial search effort, one of the largest such missions in modern times.