Argentina’s navy has launched a huge search-and-rescue operation for a military submarine with 44 crew members that has been missing off the coast of Patagonia for more than two days.

The last radio contact with the San Juan submarine was on Wednesday, when it was 430km off the coast of the southern province of Chubut, in the area of San Jorge bay, a naval spokesman said on Friday.

Local media reports claimed the submarine had been located 70 metres down in waters 300km east of the Patagonian coastal city of Puerto Madryn by the International Submarine Escape and Rescue Liason Office. The media reports have not been officially confirmed and came as Argentina’s president, Mauricio Macri, tweeted that: “We are committed to using all the national and international resources that are necessary to find the Argentinean Navy’s submarine San Juan as soon as possible.”