US military to help with search for missing Indonesian submarine

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The U.S. military will use its aircraft to help look for an Indonesian submarine that went missing Wednesday with 53 people on board.

At the request of the Indonesian government, the Defense Department is “sending airborne assets to assist in the search for the missing submarine,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a statement Thursday.

The German-made submarine, KRI Nanggala-402, went missing while preparing for a torpedo drill in waters north of the island of Bali. 

Authorities reportedly began searching for the vessel after it failed to send back results from the exercise. 

“We are deeply saddened by the news of Indonesia’s lost submarine, and our thoughts are with the Indonesian sailors and their families,” Kirby said.

He added that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is set to speak with his Indonesian counterpart, Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto, on Friday morning “to convey our sorrow and to discuss how else the United States can be of assistance.” 

Little is known on the details of the missing submarine, but Indonesia’s defense ministry said that an initial aerial search found an oil spill near its dive location. 

The country has sent out two of its navy vessels with sonar capability to aid in the search, and Australia, Singapore and India have responded to requests for assistance, according to Reuters. 

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