A missing Argentine submarine has been found a year and a day after it went missing.
The ARA San Juan was found in the Atlantic Ocean off the Valdes Peninsula at a depth of 907 metres, the Argentine Navy said in a statement retweeted by the country’s defence ministry.
“Positive identification has been given to ARA San Juan,” the tweet stated.
Officials subsequently revealed the submarine was in pieces, with the bulk of the damage to the crushed stern section.
A massive international search was launched after the submarine disappeared on November 15, 2017, but hopes of finding the crew of 44 alive were given up two weeks later and the search was scaled down.
On Thursday, North American survey ship Ocean Infinity was just 48 hours away from giving up its search when it detected an unknown object on the ocean floor.
The Ocean Infinity is the same vessel that searched fruitlessly in the depths of the Indian Ocean for the remains of Malaysian Airlines MH370 — but this time its high-tech survey gear came up trumps.
After picking up a sonar “echo” that suggested the shape of a submarine, the ship lowered its remote-controlled robot submarine which provided visual confirmation the 60-metre craft had been found.
Argentina’s government bowed to pressure from the families of the missing crew in January by offering $US4.8 million ($A6.5 million) for information leading to the submarine’s recovery.
It was the latest chapter in an often bitter and sometimes scandalous investigation sparked by the loss.
On Thursday, the anniversary of the disappearance, President Mauricio Macri made a vow to family members of the crew that he had made an “absolute and non-negotiable commitment” to find “the truth”.
When the boat first vanished and all hope was lost, federal investigators raided naval bases and offices for engineering documentation and maintenance records. The probe found evidence of negligence and ultimately resulted in the sacking of the navy’s supreme commanding officer.
A coronial investigation reported that the submarine, which was built in Germany in 1983, had “many flaws” that compromised its safety – chiefly a leaking snorkel which the captain reported before being ordered to immediately return to port.
Investigators suspect the leak produced a short circuit in the battery bank and rendered the vessel unable to halt its descent into the crushing depths of the Atlantic.
A radio message was being broadcast when the signal suddenly went dead. The last thing listeners on land heard was a popping noise experts suspect to be the sound of vessel’s hull collapsing.