Search and rescue efforts for a missing Indonesian submarine with 53 crew members on board have found debris believed to be from inside the submarine, armed forces commander marshal Hadi Tjahjanto told a media briefing today.
"We have found oil spill and debris as authentic evidence... that the submarine went down," chief marshal Hadi said.
"Among the evidence collected from the sea surface where the submarine was reported missing include sponge as thermal curtain, a bottle of grease from inside the submarine," Navy chief Yudo Margono said in the same media briefing.
Efforts are being prepared to evacuate the submarine from a depth of 850 metres, said navy chief Yudo Margono.
"The submarine possibly began to crack at some part as it went down at a depth of between 400-500m," he also said, adding that no sign of bodies of crews or survivors have been sighted so far.
Assets from foreign countries have been deployed to help with the search and rescue effort, chief marshal Hadi pointed out, stressing that Australia, United States, Singapore and Malaysia have been doing their utmost to help with the search efforts.
The 44-year-old KRI Nanggala-402 was due to carry out a torpedo drill after it requested for permission to dive early on Wednesday, but contact was then lost.
A possible power blackout during the static dive may have caused it to lose control and become unable to perform emergency procedures, according to the Indonesian Navy.
Navy spokesman Julius Widjojono has said contact with the submarine had likely been lost at 600m to 700m underwater, while by design the vessel could withstand a depth up to 500m.
He said on Friday that Singapore was involved in the operation as it owned a device that could detect the submarine at the estimated depth.
The incident is believed to be the first major submarine disaster for Indonesia, which has been upgrading its ageing military equipment in recent years.
Copyright: The Straits Times/ Asia News Network