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Missing Indonesian Submarine: All 53 Crew Members Have Died, Say Military Officials

The cause of the disappearance of the vessel is still uncertain.

Indonesia's military has confirmed that all 53 crew members on board an Indonesian Navy submarine that went missing last week have died.

Search teams have located KRI Nanggala 402's wreckage on the ocean floor, it added.

It comes a day after the Indonesian Navy declared its missing submarine had sunk and cracked open, after items from the vessel were found.

The KRI Nanggala 402 disappeared on Wednesday after its last reported dive off the resort island of Bali, with concern mounting that the submarine may have sunk in waters too deep for it to be reached or recovered. 

The cause of the disappearance is still uncertain.

Officials had said the vessel's oxygen supply would have run out early on Saturday, three days after the vessel went missing off the resort island of Bali.

The submarine was carrying 49 crew members and three gunners as well as its commander, the Indonesian Defence Ministry said.

"We received underwater pictures that are confirmed as the parts of the submarine, including its rear vertical rudder, anchors, outer pressure body, embossed dive rudder and other ship parts," military chief Hadi Tjahjanto said.

"With this authentic evidence, we can declare that KRI Nanggala 402 has sunk and all the crew members are dead," he added.

Admiral Tony Radakin, First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff for the Royal Navy, has posted a tweet in which he references this "very sad news".

"Submariners operate in some of the harshest conditions on Earth with great professionalism.

"I extend our condolences from the entire Royal Navy to the friends and families of the Nanggala and all of the Indonesian Navy at this time."

The Indonesian Navy believes the submarine sank to a depth of 600-700 metres (2,000-2,300ft), much deeper than its collapse depth of 200 metres (655ft), at which point water pressure would be greater than the hull could withstand.

An underwater robot equipped with cameras and deployed by Singaporean vessel MV Swift Rescue provided the images, while the Indonesian vessel KRI Rigel had scanned the area where the submarine was believed to have sunk using multibeam sonar and a magnetometer, according to Mr Tjahjanto.

The Indonesian Navy has previously speculated an electrical failure could have left the submarine unable to execute emergency procedures to resurface.

An American reconnaissance plane, a P-8 Poseidon, landed early on Saturday and had been set to join the search, along with 20 Indonesian ships, a sonar-equipped Australian warship and four Indonesian aircraft.

The German-built diesel-powered KRI Nanggala 402 had been in service in Indonesia since 1981.

Cover image: Aerial surveillance by a helicopter sighted the oil spill in the area a few hours after Indonesian submarine KRI Nanggala disappeared (Picture: Indonesian Military).