Officials say air supply of the submarine would last only until Saturday as search team spots ‘high magnetic force’.
Indonesia said it will salvage a submarine that sank off the coast of Bali earlier this month as grieving relatives cast flowers into the sea to pay their respects to the 53 crew members killed in the disaster.
Authorities had yet to confirm on Friday if they would try to haul up the KRI Nanggala 402 from the seafloor, after it was spotted cracked into three pieces. The navy said it was waiting on the arrival of two ships, including a vessel sent by China, that are equipped to handle deep-sea salvage operations.
High-powered magnets and air balloons were among the possible options, but how and when the cracked submarine would be brought to the surface was uncertain, said navy chief Yudo Margono.
“It’s hard to talk about specific timing, but I can say that as soon as help arrives, we’ll start,” he told reporters.
The submarine’s crew are believed to still be inside the vessel, Margono said.
An underwater rescue vehicle supplied by neighbouring Singapore gave visual confirmation that the German-built sub was lying on the seafloor more than 800 metres (2,600 feet) deep.
The eerie images were final confirmation that there was no hope of finding survivors.
The submarine, one of five in Indonesia’s fleet, disappeared last week while it was scheduled to take part in live torpedo training exercises.
The crew asked for permission to dive. It lost contact shortly after.
Later, search teams spotted an oil spill where the vessel was thought to have submerged, pointing to possible fuel tank damage and a catastrophic accident.
The military has yet to offer an official explanation for the sinking of the decades-old submarine, which was delivered to the Southeast Asian nation in 1981.
It has said, however, that the reconditioned vessel was seaworthy and discounted the possibility of an explosion.
The navy has said the submarine may have suffered a blackout and left the crew unable to perform emergency measures.
Its hull would have been torn apart as it sunk to depths far below what it was built to withstand, they said.