Wife distraught as time running out to find missing submarine

Kamilia Palu
·News Editor
·3-min read

The distraught wife of one of the men trapped on the missing Indonesian submarine has revealed the last conversation she had with her husband.

Berda Asmara’s husband is one of 53 crew onboard the KRI Nanggala-402, which is lost in the Bali Sea and would be rapidly running out of oxygen if not already crushed by water pressure.

Contact was lost with the vessel on Wednesday as it prepared to conduct a torpedo drill.

Rescue teams from several countries were battling against time on Friday to find the submarine, as officials warn the oxygen supply would only last until 3am on Saturday (5am AEST).

Berda Asmara shows a wedding photo with her sailor husband Mes Guntur Ari Prasetyo at their home in Surabaya.
Berda Asmara shows a wedding photo with her sailor husband Mes Guntur Ari Prasetyo at their home in Surabaya. Source: AFP

"I hope that they will be found alive," Ms Asmara said.

Her husband, crew member Guntur Ari Prasetyo, has sailed on the Nanggala for 10 years.

Ms Asmara said she last spoke to her 39-year-old husband via a video call on Monday as he was going to work.

"We had a video call. He told me that he would go sailing and asked me to pray for him," she said of the last time they spoke.

She had been expecting him home from the training mission this weekend.

Object detected with “high magnetic force”

While nothing conclusive had been found in the search so far, Yudo Margono, the navy chief of staff, said an item with "high magnetic force" at a depth of 50-100 metres had been seen.

It was unclear if the object was suspended or on the seafloor.

The diesel-electric powered submarine could withstand a depth of up to 500m but anything more could be fatal, a navy spokesman said. The Bali Sea can reach depths of more than 1500m.

Indonesian military officials speak on the phone in front of a map of the location where the Indonesian Navy submarine KRI Nanggala that went missing while participating in a training exercise on Wednesday.
Emergency crews work frantically to find the Nangga;a, as the vessel's oxygen levels are only expected to last until 3am on Saturday (local time). Source: AP
A marked map shows the last known location of the Nanggala in the Bali Sea.
A marked map shows the last known location of the Nanggala in the Bali Sea. Source: Reuters

"The main priority is the safety of the 53 crew members," President Joko Widodo said late on Thursday, calling for an all-out effort to find the vessel.

An aerial search also spotted an oil spill near the submarine's dive location, which the navy said could indicate damage to the vessel or could be a signal from the crew.

The navy has said a blackout may have occurred during static diving, causing a loss of control and preventing emergency procedures being carried out.

A number of countries have responded to Indonesia's requests for assistance, with Australia, Malaysia, India, Singapore and the United States sending specialised ships or aircraft.

Meanwhile, two Australian ships were heading for the search area including a support ship and a frigate with sonar capabilities, the defence department said.

- with Reuters

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