Search Crews Scramble To Locate Vanished Titanic Tour Submersible – “It’s A Race Against Time”
On Sunday morning, a submersible with five people on board touring the underwater Titanic wreckage vanished off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada. OceanGate Expeditions, a tourism company, operated the 21-foot sealed vessel, Titan.
According to the Coast Guard, the vessel submerged in the Atlantic Ocean, losing contact with its support vessel within an hour and 45 minutes of the trip. The vessel is designed to hold only 96 hours of oxygen, which is how much was available when the Titan embarked on its journey 2.3 miles under the ocean.
A Search Is Underway
In coordination with the Canadian Coast Guard and Canadian Armed Forces, the United States Coast Guard launched an immediate search and rescue operation for the vessel.
Coast Guard Capt. Jamie Frederick shared with news reporters today that there are “about 40 hours left of breathable air left” – an estimate out of the 96 hours of available oxygen. He also said that the ongoing search efforts for the vessel are extremely “complex.”
Explorer and global financier, Per Wimmer, told ABC News, “It’s a race against time because there’s only 96 hours of oxygen on board. And after that, if you haven’t reached the surface, you starve of oxygen.”
Oxygen Could Quickly Run Out
The five people on the Titan could run out of oxygen if the vessel isn’t found by Thursday afternoon. Given that the sub is deadbolted with 17 bolts, “there’s no other way out,” via David Pogue for CBS News.
Located 13,400 feet below the ocean’s surface, the Titanic wreckage isn’t easy to reach. ABC News talked to retired Capt. David Marquet said, “This type of rescue operation is complicated because there aren’t nearby U.S. or Canadian underwater vessels that can go as deep as the Titanic wreckage.” Plus, the ocean is pitch black at that depth.
“The odds are against them,” Marquet asserts. “There’s a ship in Boston that has this ability to either lower cable and connect to it or have a claw. It’s still a thousand miles away.”
The Five Missing
OceanGate Explorations was founded by Stockton Rush in 2009, striving to make deep-sea exploration more attainable to scientists and tourists. After more than 200 dives and three submersible designs, OceanGate is frantically searching to find the Titan and rescue the five people on board.
Stockton Rush, French submersible pilot Paul-Henry Nargeolet, British billionaire Hamish Harding, Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood, and his son, Suleman, are the crew of five who went missing.
In a statement given by OceanGate, they said, “We are deeply thankful for the extensive assistance we have received from several government agencies and deep sea companies in our efforts to re-establish contact with the submersible.” And that they are “working toward the safe return of the crew members.”
It Will Be A Challenge
Polar Prince, the Canadian research vessel and 106 rescue wing will persist with their surface searches. Meanwhile, the U.S. Coast Guard employed two C-130 flights to look for the vanished sub.
France also sent assistance at the request of French President Emmanuel Macron. Atalante, a French ship, is reported to reach the area by Wednesday night and has an exploration robot that can reach up to 4,000 meters, via a spokesperson for France’s Ifremer Institute.
According to the U.S. Coast Guard’s Rear Admiral John W. Mauger, they are doing “everything” they can to locate the Titan, which has one pilot and four mission specialists onboard.
Mauger said, “It is a remote area and a challenge, but we are deploying all available assets to make sure we can locate the craft and rescue the people on board.”