Argentina says flares seen are unlikely to be from submarine

Prayers are being held for the crew of a missing Argentine submarine

The submarine, with 44 crew on board, disappeared 430km (270 miles) off the Argentine coast.

"Special software is being used to study different sounds and acoustics", navy spokesman Enrique Balbi told reporters in Buenos Aires.

A USA aircraft searching for a missing Argentine submarine with 44 crew members aboard has spotted white flares, but they're unlikely to be from the sub that has been lost for six days in the South Atlantic, the Argentine navy said Tuesday. Storms have complicated search efforts as relatives wait anxiously. Although the submarine has enough food and fuel to last for 90 days and enough oxygen for 30 days on the surface, it only had enough oxygen to survive for seven days if submerged.

Searchers have suffered disappointments in recent days as analysis of satellite signals and sounds detected by underwater probes - initially thought to be messages from the crew - has found they did not come from the vessel.

More than a dozen boats and aircraft from Argentina, the United States, Britain, Chile and Brazil have joined the search effort. Authorities have mainly been scanning the sea from the sky, as storms have made it hard for boats.

Pressurized Rescue Module (PRM) is loaded on a trailer as Undersea Rescue Command (URC) is deploying two rescue assets from Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California, support the ongoing search for the Argentine navy submarine ARA San Juan in the south Atlantic Ocean on November 19, 2017.

Naval spokesperson, Captain Gabriel Galeazzi, said on Tuesday the search is now happening over "480,000 square kilometers".

Capt Galeazzi, who heads the naval base in Mar del Plata, south of Buenos Aires, said that the fault reported earlier related to a "short circuit" in the sub's batteries.

"A warship has a lot of backup systems, to allow it to move from one to another when there is a breakdown", he said.

Crew members' relatives gathered at the Mar del Plata naval base, waiting for news.

He says the sounds did not come from tools being banged against the hull of a submarine as was previously reported by some media. After that, he said, it would have to surface or get near the surface to replenish air supply.

The U.S. Navy Southern Command said the SRC uses advanced technology capable of reaching depths of 850 feet and rescuing six people at a time.

The ARA San Juan was inaugurated in 1983, the newest of three submarines in the navy's fleet, and underwent maintenance in 2008 in Argentina.

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