Indonesia says lost submarine sunk and 53 crew members dead after ship cracks open

Indonesia earlier considered the vessel missing as rescue efforts were ramped up over fears the crew ran out of oxygen

Indonesian marine police took part in the search operation for an Indonesian navy submarine that went missing during military exercises on April 21. (Photo by Sonny Tumbelaka/AFP via Getty Images)

Indonesia's navy have announced 53 crew members aboard the missing navy submarine off the coast of Bali have died after the ship sunk and cracked open

Military chief Hadi Tjahjanto said an oil slick and debris near where it last dived on April 21 was clear proof the KRI Nanggala 402 sank.

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‘It might be in pieces’

Family members hold photographs of Marine Colonel Harry Setiawan - the commander of the Navy's KRI Nanggala (402) submarine. (Rayi Gigih/AFP via Getty Images)

Navy Chief Yudo Margono told a press conference in Bali: "If it's an explosion, it will be in pieces.

"The cracks happened gradually in some parts when it went down from 300 metres to 400 metres to 500 metres ... If there was an explosion, it would be heard by the sonar."

The navy previously said it believes the submarine sank to a depth of 600-700 metres (2,000-2,300 feet), much deeper than its collapse depth of 200 metres (655 feet), at which point water pressure would be greater than the hull could withstand.

The cause of the disappearance was still uncertain.

No bodies found yet

The navy had previously said an electrical failure could have left the submarine unable to execute emergency procedures to resurface.

Mr Margono said that in the past two days, searchers found parts of a torpedo straightener, a grease bottle believed to be used to oil the periscope, debris from prayer rugs and a broken piece from a coolant pipe that was refitted on the submarine in South Korea in 2012.

"With the authentic evidence we found believed to be from the submarine, we have now moved from the 'sub miss' phase to 'sub sunk,'" Mr Margono said at the press conference, in which the found items were displayed.

Mr Margono said rescue teams from Indonesia and other countries will evaluate the findings.

He said no bodies have been found so far.

Officials previously said the submarine's oxygen supply would have run out early on Saturday.

An American reconnaissance plane landed early Saturday and had been set to join the search, along with 20 Indonesian ships, a sonar-equipped Australian warship and four Indonesian aircraft.

Singaporean rescue ships were also expected Saturday, while Malaysian rescue vessels were due to arrive Sunday.

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