British Submariners Honoured For Argentine Sub Search Effort

A team of eight military personnel and one civilian flew to the South Atlantic in November 2017 as part of the ARA San Juan search mission.

(Cover picture: Royal Navy).

British submariners have been recognised bu the Argentine Navy for their efforts to help find its missing submarine, the ARA San Juan.

A team of eight military personnel and one civilian flew to South America and the South Atlantic in November 2017 as part of the search mission.

Forty-four crew members from the San Juan died after it went missing on 15 November 2017.

Her last communication said that she had surfaced after water leaked into batteries, starting a fire which had been put out.

The submarine disappeared around 400 miles north of the Falkland Islands, with scientists suggesting an explosion had taken place.

An international search and rescue operation was launched, covering more than 1,000 square miles of ocean.

Royal Navy icebreaker HMS Protector joined the search with its specialist sonar equipment, during what were poor weather conditions at the time.

The work of the Submarine Escape Rescue Advisory Team, some on board Protector with others based in the Falklands and Argentina, helped narrow down the hunt for San Juan and assisted with the eventual location of the submarine.

Argentine San Juan Sub File photo
The San Juan was eventually found nearly one kilometre below the ocean's surface (Picture: PA).

The boat was eventually discovered by an exploration firm nearly one kilometre below the surface in a canyon.

The submarine had imploded when she exceeded her pressure depth about 400 metres beneath the surface, killing all 44 crew members instantly.

The team has now earned a commendation from the UK’s second most senior sailor, Fleet Commander Vice Admiral Jerry Kyd.

The head of the Argentine Submarine Service, Francisco Oleiro, said: "From the depths of our hearts and from the families of the crew of the San Juan, we want to thank all the support and solidarity we received in these hard days from all the nations that are part of this community."

The rescue mission brought several firsts, including a British military aircraft landing in Argentina for the first time since the 1982 Falklands War and also the longest flight by an RAF Voyager aircraft, which flew out special rescue pods to help with the effort.