The submarine KRI Nanggala of the Indonesian Navy sails in the waters off East Java. Photo: Eric Ireng / AP / dpa
“At the invitation of the Indonesian government, we are sending aircraft to help in the search for the missing submarine,” tweeted the spokesman for the US Department of Defense, John Kirby, on Thursday (local time). Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will talk to his Indonesian colleague Prabowo Subianto about further aid on Friday.
The almost 60-meter-long submarine, which was built 40 years ago in Germany, lost contact early Wednesday morning during an exercise. At the time it was about 95 kilometers north of Bali. According to the Navy, the “KRI Nanggala-402” is probably 600 to 700 meters under water. Experts estimate that the crew can survive in the submarine for a maximum of 72 hours.