Signals detected from Argentina's missing submarine

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MAR DEL PLATA - The argentine submarine San Juan, missing with 44 sailors in the south Atlantic, reported Wednesday a loss in its last communication, revealed Monday the military as the search intensifies.

The satellite call attempts were registered between 9am and 3pm on Saturday, lasting between four and 36 seconds, but there was no voice contact.

The navy said an electrical outage on the diesel-electric-propelled vessel may have downed its communications, though protocol calls for submarines to surface if communication is lost.

But the company said that the seven signals detected on Saturday did not come through its network. "We are analyzing more closely to reliably determine that they weren't calls coming from the submarine", said Adm. Gabriel Gonzalez, chief of Mar del Plata Naval Base, in a statement to press this morning.

The Argentinian navy is focusing its search in an area of 35 square nautical miles about 330 miles from the coast of Argentina.

In hopes of assisting if the submarine is located, a unit from the US Navy's Undersea Rescue Command (URC) deployed to Argentina on Saturday with a Submarine Rescue Chamber-a diving bell created to dock with the escape hatch of a submarine in distress for crew rescues. The vessel went out of contact while en route from the islands of Argentina's Tierra del Fuego to the Armada Argentina's northern base at Mar del Plata.

Spokesman Enrique Balbi told reporters that a US Navy P-8 Poseidon aircraft was dispatched to check an area where the noise was heard by two Argentine navy ships to help in the effort to isolate the source of the sounds.

However, the navy was unable to confirm that those calls originated from the submarine.

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The navy also announced on Monday that seven signals picked up at the weekend were not from the missing submarine's satellite phone. "That is why we are now giving priority to the search for the sunken submarine".

At the Vatican, Pope Francis, a native of Argentina, said he was sending "fervent prayers" for the crew. The Argentine sub has been missing in the Argentine Sea, and the subsequent search is entering its fifth day.

The Southern Command earlier had sent a P-3 surveillance plane belonging to NASA.

In 1982, the United Kingdom and Argentina fought a bitter war over the Falkland Islands - known by the latter as Las Malvinas. "The Falkland Islands government extends its honest hope that the submarine is found swiftly", the statement said.

Although the German-built diesel-electric vessel carried enough food, oxygen and fuel for the crew to survive about 90 days on the sea's surface, the sub had only have enough oxygen to last seven days submerged, Balbi said.

Britain's Royal Navy said it had sent the HMS Protector, an Antarctic patrol ship.

On Board the submarine at the moment of departure was 44 members of the crew, why the ship did not respond and that could happen - is not known. Her father, Eduardo Krawczyk, said: "We are extremely anxious, with little news, waiting for information".

"We don't know anything".