Indonesian submarine goes missing with 53 on board

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Indonesia has launched search efforts for a navy submarine that has gone missing, officials say, the BBC reports.

Tjahjanto told local outlet Kompas that the submarine disappeared in waters about 60 miles the north of Bali Island around 3 a.m. local time, but told Reuters they lost contact around 4:30 a.m.

The 42-year old German-made submarine, KRI Nanggala-402, is part of the Indonesian Navy's 2nd Fleet and was taking in naval drills that were supposed to culminate on Thursday. A total of 49 crew members, its commander and three gunners are thought to be onboard. The navy and the national search and rescue agency have dispatched five submarines and other vessels to continue the search for the missing submarine.

The search is now being carried out by two Indonesian warships equipped with side-scan sonar, a tool used for mapping the seafloor, according to the Ministry of Defense. There was no immediate information about why it went missing. The Royal Australian Navy has a British-designed LR5 which is also managed by James Fisher Defence as its contracted Submarine Escape and Rescue System.

Defence officials from the two countries have not yet commented.

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"[The navy] is now searching for it". 'We know the area but it's quite deep'.

Military analyst Soleman Ponto said it is too early to determine the fate of the submarine conclusively. According to the Indonesian National Armed Forces website, the crew capacity is 34.

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

Indonesia now has a fleet of five submarines and plans to operate at least eight by 2024.

In 2015, an Indonesian military transport plane crashed into a northern residential area two minutes after takeoff, killing more than 100 people.

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