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Indonesian Navy submarine missing with 53 sailors on board amid fears it sank on military exercise

Indonesian Navy submarine goes missing with 53 sailors on board amid fears it sank to the bottom of a 2,300ft trough during military exercises off Bali

An Indonesian Navy submarine with 53 people on board has gone missing amid fears it sank during a military exercise off the waters of Bali.

The navy has deployed a number of warships to search for the missing crew and officials fear the vessel sank to the bottom of a trough with a depth of 2,300ft, reports Kompas.  

The German-made submarine, KRI Nanggala-402, was conducting a torpedo drill in waters 60 miles north of the island of Bali on Wednesday, but failed to relay the results as expected, a navy spokesman said.

The navy is now seeking help from Australia and Singapore, the country’s military chief said. 

TNI Commander Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto said the submarine is thought to have disappeared in the waters at around 4.30 am on Wednesday morning after contact with the vessel was lost.  

The German-made submarine, KRI Nanggala-402 (file photo of the submarine), has gone missing with 53 people on board

‘We are still searching in the waters of Bali, 60 miles from Bali, (for) 53 people,’ military chief Hadi Tjahjanto told Reuters in a text message. 

He added: ‘Tomorrow I will immediately go to the location.’ 

The military chief confirmed that assistance in the search for the submarine and missing crew members had been sought from Australia and Singapore. 

Representatives of the defence departments of the two countries did not immediately respond to requests for comment.   

The submarine was conducting a torpedo drill in waters 60 miles north of the island of Bali

The submarine was conducting a torpedo drill in waters 60 miles north of the island of Bali

The 1,395-tonne KRI Nanggala-402 was built in Germany in 1978, according to the Indonesian cabinet secretariat’s website, and underwent a two-year refit in South Korea that was completed in 2012.

Indonesia in the past operated a fleet of 12 submarines purchased from the Soviet Union to patrol the waters of its sprawling archipelago.

But now it has a fleet of only five including two German-built Type 209 submarines and three newer South Korean vessels.

Indonesia has been seeking to upgrade its defence capabilities but some of its equipment still in service is old and there have been deadly accidents involving in particular ageing military transport planes in recent years.

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