After a tourist submersible intended to explore the Titanic wreckage vanished over a day ago off the Canadian coast, a search and rescue operation is currently underway in the Atlantic Ocean.
Private company OpenGate Expeditions, which runs the submersible, declared that it was “mobilising all options” to save the crew and bring them back safely. The Polar Prince, a surface support boat for the submarine, lost touch with it about one hour and forty-five minutes after it plunged into the water on Sunday, according to the US Coast Guard.
OpenGate has said that it was “deeply thankful for the extensive assistance” it received from several government agencies and deep sea firms in its efforts to contact the missing vessel.
Ships and planes from the US and Canada have been brought in to search for the submarine. Sonar buoys, capable of monitoring a depth of 13,000 feet, have also been used, U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral John Mauger told reporters on Monday.
Who all are onboard the Titanic submersible?
The missing submersible has five people onboard, including a pilot. British billionaire Hamish Harding is among the passengers. His stepson reportedly confirmed on Facebook earlier that Harding had “gone missing on the submarine” and asked for “thoughts and prayers”. However, he eventually took the post down citing respect for the family’s privacy.
Before his tour commenced, Harding in a Facebook post said he was proud to join the expedition as a mission specialist. He added that the team on the submarine had legendary explorers, some of which have completed more than 30 dives to the RMS Titanic since the 1980s.
About the ‘Titan’ submersible
On Sunday morning, the ‘Titan’ submarine, which is 22 feet long, has a 96-hour supply of oxygen. According to OceanGate’s court petition, the 9,072 kilogramme vessel can dive 13,120 feet “with a comfortable safety margin” According to the company, it can survive “enormous pressures of the deep ocean” and is constructed of titanium and filament woven carbon fibre.
About the OceanGate expedition
The expedition was OceanGate’s third annual voyage to the wreck site. The expeditions cost $250,000 per person and start in St. John’s, Newfoundland, as per the firm’s website. The submarine takes two hours to go approximately 12,500 feet to the Titanic.
Last year, CBS journalist David Pogue went on the expedition. He said his submarine got turned around while they were looking for Titanic. “There’s no GPS underwater, so the surface ship is supposed to guide the sub to the shipwreck by sending text messages,” Pogue said in a segment shown on CBS Sunday Morning. “But on this dive, communications somehow broke down. The sub never found the wreck,” he added.