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Indonesian military says submarine missing with 53 on board

In this Jan. 18, 2017 file photo, Indonesia's then Air Force Chief of Staff Air Marshall Hadi Tjahjanto talks to journalists after his swearing-in ceremony at the presidential palace in Jakarta, Indonesia. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) -- Indonesia's navy is searching for a submarine that went missing north of the resort island of Bali with 53 people on board, the military said Wednesday.

    Military chief Hadi Tjahjanto said the KRI Nanggala 402 was participating in a training exercise when it missed a scheduled reporting call.

    The submarine is believed to have disappeared in waters about 60 miles (95 kilometers) north of Bali, he said.

    Tjahjanto said the navy has deployed ships to search the area and has asked for help from Singapore and Australia, which have submarine rescue vessels.

    Local media reports said the navy believes the ship sank into a trough at a depth of 700 meters (2,300 feet). There was no immediate information about why it went missing.

    The German-built submarine, which has been in service since the early 1980s, was rehearsing for a missile-firing exercise that was to take place on Thursday. Tjahjanto and other military leaders were to attend.

    Indonesia currently has a fleet of five submarines and plans to operate at least eight by 2024.

    The country has faced growing challenges to its maritime claims in recent years, including numerous incidents involving Chinese vessels near the Natuna islands.

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