A multinational search intensified on Tuesday for Argentina's missing submarine with 44 crew members off the country's coast as the clock may be ticking on the crew's oxygen supply.
On Monday, Argentina's navy said that the noises which they hoped were coming from tools being banged against the hull of a submarine in Morse code signals have been analyzed.
A specialized US aircraft had been sent to the area, about 225 miles east of the Valdes Peninsula in Patagonia, after the noise was detected by two Argentine naval vessels searching for the submarine.
The submarine was heading from a base in southern Argentina's Tierra del Fuego archipelago to its home port in Mar del Plata.
With the ability to reach depths of 850 feet-and to save six crew members at a time-the U.S. Navy vessel may be the Argentine crew's only chance of survival at this point.
Argentina's navy said a "noise" picked up by sonar on Monday during the search did not come from the vessel.
A missing Argentine submarine has sparked fears with its unusual disappearance, and the mystery only seems to be deepening as the hours extend into days. More than a dozen worldwide vessels and aircraft have joined the search, which has been hindered by stormy weather that has caused waves up to 20 feet.
The noises sounded like tools being banged on the hull of a submarine to attract the attention of rescuers, CNN reported, citing an unnamed senior U.S. navy official familiar with the worldwide search effort.
Argentine President Mauricio Macri travelled to Mar del Plata Monday morning, where the submarine's base of operations is located, to monitor the situation and support the families of the crew members on the missing submarine.
Over the weekend, officials said they believed they had received several truncated satellite phone calls from the submarine that they hoped could help pinpoint its location.
The navy also confirmed that the submarine's captain reported a failure in the vessel's battery system Wednesday before losing all radio contact.
The search area, off the Patagonia coast, is notorious for strong storms.
"This phase of search and rescue is critical", Balbi said.
Pledges of help also came from Chile, Uruguay, Peru, Brazil and Britain, the latter sending a polar exploration vessel, HMS Protector.
The submarine was originally scheduled to arrive Monday at the navy's base in Mar del Plata, which is about 250 miles southeast of Buenos Aires.
"Every minute is oxygen and that's worth gold". "He's in the San Juan submarine".
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