Vanished Argentine sub relatives launch campaign to fund search

More than a dozen countries contributed to the search for the submarine, which vanished on November 15 after reporting that seawater had entered the ventilation system, starting a fire

Relatives of the 44 Argentine submarine crew members who disappeared in the southern Atlantic last November have launched a fundraising effort to continue the search for the missing vessel.

The social media campaign was created after bidding on a contract to search for the ARA San Juan was suspended.

The Argentinian government has offered a reward of $5 million "to those persons who provide information and useful data" leading to the submarine's location.

"We are searching for the truth and you can join us. We are raising funds to hire vessels with up-to-date technology," the families said in their call for donations to two bank accounts for local and foreign currency.

More than a dozen countries contributed to the search for the submarine, which vanished on November 15 after reporting that seawater had entered the ventilation system, causing a battery on the diesel-electric vessel to short-circuit and start a fire.

Relatives, who met with President Mauricio Macri on February 7, called for the search area to be widened and increased government resources for the effort.

The collection "was an idea relatives were talking about, and when the government announced the reward and ended the tender for foreign companies to search for (the submarine), it was put into action," said Clarin Claudio Sandoval, uncle of one of the crew members.

He said the group wanted to raise at least $250,000 to hire a private search company.

An investigation to determine what happened to the submarine and who was responsible remains open.