BUENOS AIRES – Some 500 people gathered on Saturday at the Argentine naval base at Mar del Plata to offer their comfort and support for the families of the 44 crew members of the submarine that went missing 10 days ago.
Dozens of people wrapped in Argentine flags stood at the gates of the naval base, where for several days many of the families and friends of the missing seamen have been staying, and began to sing the national anthem and applaud those so desperately waiting for news of their loved ones.
In gratitude, some family members came outside very moved and hugged those who showed up to offer words of encouragement and solidarity amid the applause and cries to cheer up the sad situation as much as possible.
This show of support for families of the ARA San Juan crew is repeated every day while the search and rescue operations continue, with 13 countries contributing the needed equipment and human resources to the task.
Communications from the submarine were received for the last time during the morning of Nov. 15 as it sailed from Ushuaia, Argentina’s southernmost city, toward Mar del Plata in Buenos Aires province, some 430 kilometers (265 miles) south of the capital.
Up to now, the navy has avoided speculating on what could have happened to the crew and asked for caution in that regard until the sub is found.
This Saturday, navy spokesman Capt. Enrique Balbi admitted that the navy is in a state between “hope and despair,” and said that all its personnel are divided between two endeavors: “Searching for the submarine with its crew of 44 and being with their families.”