2017 Nov - ARA San Juan submarine lost


Perhaps it’s important to keep in mind, that if an explosion of/on the ARA San Juan Submarine occurred, that does not automatically determine if it is not the same scenario as the Kursk (please refer to my previous posting in which the details of the Kursk were outlined); nor does it mean that the crew were not able to escape. Additionally, an oil/fuel slick may become apparent near/on the surface of the ocean.

Again, it should also like to point out that the images at https://worldview.earthdata.nasa.gov/ are from the given day. The only problem with that site is that the surface becomes a bit hard to define if closer that 5 miles (10 km).

Below is a link to an excellent article on what processes the rescue team will have to go through ‘when’ they find the ARA San Juan:


Keeping The Faith


Hello all. This is such a terrible tragedy and I’m sorry that Tomnod was not available to help the search. As of today, we haven’t processed any new imagery of the area (we currently don’t have any). A big problem with our readiness to help with this particular tragedy is that DG doesn’t typically capture offshore water; there is very little demand for it on a typical day. When we need offshore water imagery, we collect it, but if often takes time to build up. This was the case with the MH370 search as well, which took some time to gather and put together.

Again my heart goes out to everyone, and I’m sorry that Tomnod was not available for this search. I will keep in touch with our FirstLook group to see if there are any new developments.


TN has searchers but no images. I suspect that there are sources with images such as military satellites. Could TN combine forces with these other sources and loan out its searchers? If not now, perhaps for the future. It also might let us participate as a more rapid response group.


Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. US Military would never release imagery to civilians.

I know it’s been hard to hear, but after nearly 11 days of almost continuous storms with high winds and waves, it’d be hard to see much of anything. @Joanne raised the idea that an oil or fuel slick might be visible… but that kind of ongoing wind//wave action would disperse anything like that.


I was speaking hypothetically and more for future reference. There are other satellites up there that are not military. Unfortunately I do not think the sub will be found on the surface and also possibly not on the bottom.
I believe the sub imploded/exploded based on news reports. The ARA San Juan was built in the 80’s and renovated more recently which involved cutting into the body of the sub which may have weakened its structure. I am aware that TN is not a first response group, but I do think we can do better as a group.


I have a question, if anyone might know the answer?

News agencies reported that the Captain’s last message (typed per protocol after radio transmission) was this:
“Entry of sea water through the ventilation system into battery tank No.3 caused a short circuit and the beginnings of a fire in the battery room. Bow batteries out of service. At the moment in immersion propelling with split circuit. No updates on personnel, will keep informed,” the message read, as reported by The Telegraph.

Do Sub Captains routinely say “no updates on personnel, will keep informed”? Or might that indicate ~something~ important or out of the ordinary might have gone on with 1 or more of the crew around the time of or just before the snorkel leak and fire involving batteries? If it was about something, wouldn’t that remark refer back to a prior message about personnel? Something seems missing?

Also, I understand water can get into an extended / raised snorkel above the conning tower. But before submerging, the snorkel is lowered. Why wasn’t it lowered? Was it equipment failure? human error?


News in US venues seems once a day now. All news follows Reuters, so words just recycle across different media. That alone is frustrating here. Wondering if news is coming any faster locally?


Announced today, they have ended the Search and Rescue, but will continue the Search and Recover (if possible).



Hi @Cageycat! (And everybody else… long time no see/talk/chat?)

But I still read the forum from time to time and of course have been following this subject quite closely. I’ve seen the good will and interest the Tomnond community put into it, although bein unable to collaborate (and yes, it’s true, it would not have really aided at all, would have been a pointless effort)… about that… I want to thank each and every one of you. In the name of all the grateful people in Argentina and specially myself as a member of our Armed Forces. THANK YOU. Forever, thank you.

In case you want the latest news, we have officialy abandoned all rescue efforts, focusing now on search and shipwreck / remains recovery operations. That means no survivors are expected to be found.

Now, going on to your questions…

Yes they do, when the SITREP informs about an incident that can end up in equipment/personnel damage. In this case, the “no updates on personell” makes reference to the fact that part of the equipment did suffer damage (batteries in this case), but no personnel did. That’s what that means and yes it is normal when reporting a situation that is by it’s own nature abnormal, be it ir not an emergency.

About the snorkel question… the snorkel on that sub has a double safety system in order to prevent intake of water. Basically they are designed to let air in, but keep water out. Human error is not an option to be considered in that particular scenario. The reason of this safety system existing is not so much to prevent an accidental submertion while the snorkel is deployed, but to prevent the intake of water from high waves during normal snorkel operation.

Hope I clarified your doubts, and… well… those are the latest news: there are no news. The only news is we are now officially out of a rescue mission (but the 44 crew won’t be declared officially dead until an evidence of the submarine wreck is found :roll_eyes:

Thank you all again. Thank you, your countries, your wishes, your prayers. Just… thank you.



Thank you for explaining and clarifying about the message and the snorkel. In the absence of specific answers / facts, the mind so easily conjectures about why the snorkel failed to keep out water.

The sub has been in my heart and thoughts every day. I picture it and its crew in my mind… and pray they did not suffer. For the families and the crew’s peers, I hope the searchers find something… for peace of mind and relief of this burden.

I know some people here thought that my comments were not hopeful… maybe thinking I was being cruel. Far from it. I’m a realist and I’m pragmatic, but that doesn’t mean I’m heartless. But like you stated, I believed trying to get satellite images and searching them would be a futile endeavor since 4,000 searchers and radar did not find the sub on the surface and the area experienced gale force winds and waves that would have dispersed any fuel /oil leak…

Satellites are super cool in what they can do, but there are critical differences between images for civilians to use and images the military uses. In my opinion, when it isn’t practical for Nodders to get images, I certainly can pray that military personnel in front of their screens will have eagle eyesight and the patience of all our wonderful Nodders combined. And, I can pray that the future of satellites in difficult terrains and situations such as ocean searches will become as exciting as land Crowdsourcing has been so far. Perhaps we might even convince Tomnod to begin to build a coastal / offshore image library of oceans and waterways, for the future… Heck, maybe some entity will want to know fishing boat counts as a dual purpose to start the library of images. :slight_smile:

I will keep following the search here.


If I recall correctly from conversations with a cousin who served in subs in early 60’s, if the batteries are gassing and fumes develop, they try to vent to open air to avoid overcoming the air exchange system. Open air and massive waves could equal huge quantities of water entering sub and electric circuits and seawater do not mix well. The heavy seas could have over come the ships systems of propulsion and pumping capacity, more incoming water causing ship to founder and be driven down below it’s depth capabilities causing implosion. The ridge just past the continental shelf falls to depths between 10,000-15,000 feet.


It’s very possible that you are recalling correctly, though the same procedures wouldn’t apply in this case (basically because of a different technology, the ARA San Juan has a different design than the one used for American diesel-electric subs designed and / or in service during the 60s).

That said… you are fundamentally right in your thought chain. In the ARA San Juan case, being it equipped with Li-ion batteries, the contact with sea water (salt water actually) starts a reaction that releases hydrogen. Hydrogen is both a suffocating and explosive gas. I’m pretty sure anyone can easily understand the risks that a suffocating agent and explosive heavy gas imply in a confined, submerged environment :frowning:


Again, and never enough: thank you.

Commenting on your remarks about sats and their capabilities… you are totally right, though we did actually use both satellite and aerial imagery and signals products for the search. They did help, a lot. But of course it’s a different kind of imagery / data and it takes skilled and trained personnel to interpret and analyze it.

If I can bring you some news, we are checking on four (4) closely spaced seabed-laying large objects consistent with a wreckage pieces signature we found within the now “small” search area,

Just wanted to add that and thank you all again. Always in my heart.


I have several major fears in life, that being, fire, drowning/suffocation, and closed/small places. just a brief thought of any of those makes me feel claustrophobic.

The men and women in subs must be some highly brave and hardy people to willingly put themselves into such potential dangers… :heart:


Hello, my name is Diego Iannone, I am Argentinian and I want to propose a search campaign for the submarine San Juan and its 44 crew that has been missing for more than 15 days in the Argentine Sea / Atlantic Ocean.



Somos compatriotas, y en mi caso particular además de ser miembro de la comunidad Tomnod desde hace ya un largo tiempo, integrante de las FFAA. Comprenderás con esto que comparto tu dolor en todos y cada uno de los niveles.

Una de mis especialidades es precisamente el análisis de imágenes y productos de datos satelitales y aéreos. Hemos sido provistos en tiempo y forma con recursos de ese tipo que se utilizaron para intentar ayudar y colaborar en la misión tanto SAR como de búsqueda. Con esto aclaro que lo que pudimos disponer está fuera del alcance civil y aún así, a pesar de ser de mayor calidad y haber sido analizado por personal especialmente entrenado en el tema (y doy fe de su calidad profesional), lamentablemente no ha aportado nada. Iniciar una campaña masiva de crowdsourcing en una plataforma como esta carece de sentido y no aportaría, lamentablemente, nada a la búsqueda.

Puedo dar fe de la EXCELENTE predisposición y voluntad de este grupo (Tomnod) que desde el primer momento (podrás observar que no sos el primero en pedirlo, hay de hecho un thread en el foro especialmente dedicado al tema ARA San Juan) demostró para ayudar en caso de que fuera de utilidad. La lamentable realidad en este caso es que no lo sería y por lo tanto, como profesional en el tema, aún compartiendo la angustia y deseos lógicos que todos compartimos (al menos todos los que tenemos valores humanos), te digo que realmente sería en vano. Aquí hay gente que vale oro humanitariamente hablando. Y que nos han ayudado en ocasiones anteriores sin dudarlo cuando su aporte colaboraba (ejemplos que vienen a mi memoria ahora: la búsqueda del Tunante extraviado en costas del Brasil, o inundaciones en el litoral de Santa Fe por ejemplo). Yo he participado de todas y cada una de las campañas. Hace años que estoy aquí como parte del grupo de voluntarios que, con mayor, menor o incluso nulo conocimiento técnico, igualmente ayudan, se esfuerzan, pasan horas quemando sus ojos frente a una pantalla en pos de ayudar a quienes ni siquiera conocen. Que no te quepa duda: no se hace porque no tiene utilidad alguna… no por falta de voluntad ni ningún otro motivo. La comunidad de Tomnod es voluntariosa, loable, hermosa, y siempre que puede ayudar lo hace.

Es doloroso decirlo así, lo sé. También lo es para mí saberlo,
Pero lamentablemente… no es ya el camino a seguir. Se utilizaron medios satelitales y aéreos durante la fase SAR. Medios superadores a los que se podrían aplicar aquí. No hay punto en hacerlo… duele decirlo tan crudamente… espero sepas entender mi “decirtelo en la cara” sabiendo que comparto tu dolor y, aunque oficialmente no es así, yo porto duelo desde hace ya una semana en mis insignias. Porque así como duele decirlo tan crudamente, nos (me) duele tanto o más la respuesta esquiva, en el mejor de los casos, que ha sido la constante oficial durante este doloroso evento y que a muchos nos molesta y duele tanto o más que lo sucedido. Yo no te lo digo con rodeos, no necesito salvar mi puesto político. Lo digo con dolor porque lo digo desde el corazón y sabiendo que es así.

Lo único que me queda por decirte es, como en su momento les dije a quienes desde aquí mismo, desde el seno de Tomnod, intentaron ayudar por esta vía, es: Gracias. Por tu interés, por tu preocupación, por dedicarnos el tiempo. Gracias. Por intentarlo aunque sea. Gracias. Nos duele. Lo sé. Lo sabemos.

Un gran saludo, y un abrazo fraternal. Y si alguien cercano o querido formaba parte de la tripulación o complemento, mi más cálido y fuerte abrazo familiar. Todos estamos llorando.


Gracias Stilman por contestarle a Diego y en español, que nos ayuda a todos los que no dominamos el inglés. Gracias a todos y mi dolor también está presente y también hubiera querido aportar un granito de arena en la búsqueda, es más, eso me impulsó a volver a visitar este sitio. Es una pena que no se pueda colaborar desde aquí.

Diego, te acerco el enlace del hilo en que se solicitaba ayuda para el Ara San Juan, con los muchos comentarios de los participantes, sospecho que sos nuevo en este foro.

Saludos y pesar desde este lado del charquito, de esta charrúa que también quería buscar.

Moderator Edit – Google Translate
Thanks Stilman for answering Diego and in Spanish, which helps us all who do not speak English. Thanks to all and my pain is also present and I would also have wanted to contribute a bit in the search, what’s more, that prompted me to revisit this site. It’s a pity that we can not collaborate from here.

Diego, I approached you the link of the thread in which help was requested for the Ara San Juan, with the many comments of the participants, I suspect that you are new in this forum.

[forum post not included in the translation]
Greetings and regret from this side of the puddle, this charrúa also wanted to look.

(end Google Translate)


I would normally append the original post with the translation. But I’m afraid it might be too long for email.

Google Translate of @Stilman_Hector_Danie 's posting for people who never learned anything but English, like me:

We are compatriots, and in my particular case as well as being a member of the Tomnod community for a long time, member of the Armed Forces. You will understand with this that I share your pain in each and every one of the levels.

One of my specialties is precisely the analysis of satellite and aerial data images and products. We have been provided in a timely manner with resources of that kind that were used to try to help and collaborate in both SAR and search missions. With this I clarify that what we have available is beyond the civilian scope and even then, despite being of higher quality and having been analyzed by specially trained personnel (and I attest to their professional quality), unfortunately has not contributed anything . Start a massive crowdsourcing campaign on a platform like this lacks sense and would not, unfortunately, bring anything to the search.

I can attest to the EXCELLENT predisposition and will of this group (Tomnod) that from the first moment (you will notice that you are not the first to ask for it, there is in fact a thread in the forum specially dedicated to the topic ARA San Juan) proved to help in case it was useful. The unfortunate reality in this case is that it would not be and therefore, as a professional on the subject, even sharing the anguish and logical desires that we all share (at least all of us who have human values), I tell you that it would really be in vain . Here there are people who are worth gold humanely speaking. And that they have helped us in previous occasions without doubting it when their contribution collaborated (examples that come to my memory now: the search of the lost Tunante in coasts of Brazil, or floods in the coast of Santa Fe for example). I have participated in each and every one of the campaigns. I have been here for years as part of the group of volunteers who, with more, less or even technical knowledge, help, work hard, spend hours burning their eyes in front of a screen to help those who do not even know. Let there be no doubt: it is not done because it has no use … not because of lack of will or any other reason. The community of Tomnod is willful, praiseworthy, beautiful, and whenever she can help she does it.

It’s painful to say it like that, I know. It is also for me to know,
But unfortunately … it is not the way to go. Satellite and air media were used during the SAR phase. Means exceeding those that could be applied here. There is no point in doing it … it hurts to say it so crudely … I hope you understand my “tell it in the face” knowing that I share your pain and, although officially it is not like that, I have been dueling for a week now in my badges. Because as it hurts to say it so crudely, it hurts us so much or more the elusive answer, in the best of cases, which has been the official constant during this painful event and that bothers many of us and hurts as much or more than happened. I do not tell you with detours, I do not need to save my political position. I say it with pain because I say it from the heart and knowing that it is so.

The only thing I have left to tell you is, as I said to those who from here, from the bosom of Tomnod, tried to help in this way, it is: Thank you. For your interest, for your concern, for dedicating time. Thank you. For trying, even if it is. Thank you. It hurts us. I know. We know.

A big greeting, and a fraternal hug. And if someone close or dear was part of the crew or complement, my warmest and strongest family hug. We are all crying.

(end Google Translate)


Gracias. :wink::smiley:



I’ve just finished reading the translation of your post. I know people say that Google Translate often produces errors. I hope that is not true about your post, because your words are beautiful in both its praise for Tomnod, and also your feelings for those who share your grief about ARA San Juan. If you are not already a writer, you should think about putting your thoughts to paper. Eloquent, just eloquent! You explained so much better than my futile attempts. And because in some way people might think I “represent” Tomnod in my position as a Moderator, people may have thought I was just giving excuses for Tomnod. I was trying to be “caring-honest”… but I don’t think the caring was heard, not like your caring will come across. Your post has me crying.


@Lucy & Argentinians,

Nodders also wish we could have been of use. Sometimes, it just isn’t possible.

I was reading yesterday’s news from

They included a photo of the ARA San Juan as it left port Nov. 13th, just beginning to submerge. I repost the photo here in case relatives want to copy / save it, or print it out for yourselves.


The photo caption given in the news article:
The picture was tweeted by a Falkland Islands account, saying: ‘#ARASanJuan as she left port for the last time on Monday, Nov 13’