The Australian government has offered to help find an Indonesian submarine that went missing with 53 people on board.

The German-made KRI Nanggala-402 submarine was reportedly conducting a torpedo drill in waters north of the resort island of Bali when losing contact early Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO: Indonesian submarine KRI Nanggala-402 during a ceremony honoring the 72nd anniversary of the country’s Armed Forces Day at Cilegon, Banten province, Indonesia. Image: Xinhua

The Indonesian military, quoted by the media, said it has sought help from Singapore and Australia in the search mission.

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said the country would provide whatever support it could offer.

“We are obviously very concerned about these reports. It’s very distressing for families and particularly for the Indonesian Navy,” she told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) radio on Thursday.

“We operate very different submarines from this one, but the Australian Defence Force and Australian Defence organisation will work with defence operations in Indonesia to determine what we may be able to do.”

FILE PHOTO: Indonesian submarine KRI Nanggala-402 during a ceremony honoring the 72nd anniversary of the country’s Armed Forces Day at Cilegon, Banten province, Indonesia. Image: Xinhua

At the depth of about 700 meters, the submarine is feared to have sunk about 60 miles off the northern coast of Bali Island early Wednesday after losing contact, according to local media.

The submarine, which was built in Germany in 1979, reportedly lost contact at around 3:00 a.m. local time.

“Right after being given permission to dive, after being given the clearance, (the submarine) lost contact,” Indonesian military chief Hadi Tjahjanto was quoted by Indonesia’s daily newspaper Kompas as saying.

The Indonesian military is deploying a number of warships to the site where the submarine was thought to have lost contact, he said.

XINHUA | CANBERRA

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