The search for 44 sailors on board a lost Argentine submarine has ended, leaving nearly no hope for their survival.
"More than double the number of days have passed where it would have been possible to rescue the crew", navy spokesman Enrique Balbi told a news conference.
The search mission would involve a reorganization of the vessels and other assets that have been deployed, and the operation will continue until the submarine is found, he said.
Argentina's navy said Thursday that it is no longer looking for survivors among the 44 sailors aboard a submarine missing for 15 days, though a multinational operation will continue looking for the vessel.
He said while it was not possible to definitively confirm the crew had perished, "no evidence of a shipwreck was found in the areas explored" and the worldwide rescue effort had continued for "twice the time" it was estimated they could have survived.
ARA San Juan, a diesel-electric powered submarine with a 44-strong crew aboard, stopped responding to radio communications on November 15.
"No one will be rescued", Balbi said.
Luis Taglapietra, whose son Damián was a 27-year-old trainee, told the TN news channel: "This is perverse and impossible to understand".
Relatives of the missing had mixed feelings about Thursday's announcement.
The captain later communicated by satellite phone the problem had been contained.
Three hours later, a noise similar to an explosion was recorded 48 kilometers from where the crew had given its last report.
The Argentine navy had previously saidthe vessel's captain reported a short circuit in the vessel's battery system shortly before the last known contact. "The defense ministry announces the start of the next phase, aimed at searching for the San Juan submarine".