A tourist submersible went missing in the North Atlantic on Sunday. The small sub, owned by the tour firm OceanGate, was diving to Titanic’s wreck on Sunday with five persons onboard when all communications were lost.
According to the US Coast Guard, the vessel has the capacity to remain submerged for 96 hours. In a statement, David Concannon, the advisor to OceanGate, said the sub’s 96-hour oxygen supply began at approximately 6 am Sunday. However, it’s currently unknown whether or not the vessel is still underwater or if it has returned to the surface as there’s no communication with the sub.
The US and Canadian navies are currently helping with the rescue operation. A few commercial deep-sea firms have also volunteered to help with the rescue mission. According to officials, several sonar buoys that are capable of monitoring to a depth of 4,000 meters have been dropped in the waters east of Cape Cod. However, the search remains difficult as it’s unknown whether or not the sub is still at the bottom of the ocean. Nevertheless, officials are working to get a remotely operated vessel to the site as soon as possible.
While the Titanic’s wreck sits approximately 440 miles south of Newfoundland, the rescue operation is being run from Boston, Massachusetts.
Hamish Harding, a 58-year-old billionaire businessman, military veteran, and explorer is among those who were onboard the submersible. Former French navy commander, submersible pilot, and deep diver Paul Henry Nargeolet is also believed to be on board. The director of RMS Titanic, Inc, he is considered a leading authority on Titanic’s wreck- having led numerous expeditions to the site and supervised the recovery of thousands of artifacts- and is believed to have been the one in charge of the dive.
OceanGate Expeditions, which offers eight-day trips, including dives to Titanic’s wreck for $250,000 per person, has been running since 2021. Rear Admiral John Mauger, who is currently overseeing the rescue mission, said in a press conference on Monday afternoon that “[they] are doing everything [they] can do” to bring those on board home safely.
According to OceanGate’s website, they had an eight-day, seven-night expedition to Titanic’s wreck planned for June 12-20th. Up to six passengers were scheduled to depart and return to a port in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
Titan, the missing submersible, is one of three subs that the company owns. However, it is the only one that’s capable of diving up to 13,100 feet, where the Titanic wreckage lays.
David Pogue, a reporter for CBS who traveled to the wreckage in the Titan sub last year, confirmed that there’s currently “no way” to communicate with the sub as neither radio nor GPS works underwater. Only when the sub is directly under the support ship, can they communicate via short text messages.