“We are deeply saddened by the news of the loss of the Indonesian submarine,” Kirby wrote on Twitter. Our hearts go out to the Indonesian sailors and their families. “At the invitation of the Indonesian government, we are sending air resources to help search for the missing submarine.”
Admiral Yodo Margono, Chief of Staff of the Indonesian Navy, said at a press conference on Thursday that the ship will contain enough oxygen for all submarines until Saturday at 3 a.m. local time.
American assets will participate in a comprehensive search. Margono said three submarines, five aircraft and 21 warships have been deployed to help search for the missing submarine. There are also resources from Singapore and Malaysia on their way to help.
The Indonesian military suspects that the oil spill seen on Wednesday when monitoring air traffic at the dive point came from the boat. Margono said the Navy also found a body at a depth of 50-100 meters (about 164-328 feet) that was magnetic, which means it likely came from the submarine.
Margono said there are two possibilities for explaining the oil spill on the surface: A submarine tank could leak because it was sinking to great depths, or a submarine could fire a liquid on board in an attempt to rise to the surface.
Indonesia is trying to modernize its defense capabilities, but some of its equipment is still outdated and fatal accidents have occurred in recent years, especially outdated military transport aircraft.
Masroor Jamal El-Din contributed to this report.