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Australia joins desperate search for 53 Indonesian submariners

Foreign Minister Marise Payne has pledged Australia's support to help Indonesia search for a missing submarine with 53 sailors on board.

Indonesia has sought help from Australia and Singapore.

Australia has offered to help search for an Indonesian submarine lost with 53 sailors on board.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne said:

"We are obviously very concerned about these reports. It's very distressing for families and particularly for the Indonesian Navy.”
"We operate very different submarines from this one, but the Australian Defence Force and Australian Defence Organisation will work with defence operations in Indonesia to determine what we may be able to do.
"We will go to the support of our neighbour in any way we can."

The submarine was carrying 49 crew members, its commander and three gunners.

The vessel lost contact after being granted clearance to dive and could have sunk to a depth of between 600 and 800 metres, well below its safe operating levels.

Defence Minister Peter Dutton described the incident as a terrible tragedy and said deep waters in the location would make recovery very difficult.

Submarine rescue expert Frank Owen said:

"If it is in the depth of water that's there, then there will be little they can do to actually get the people out.
"The only way to get the people out would be to salvage the submarine, and that's a lengthy process."

Minister Payne said the submarine search and rescue would be a complex task.

"Those submariners and their families are very much in need of all of our thoughts and prayers."


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