The desperate search for a missing submersible with five on board that was to explore the Titanic wreckage in the North Atlantic Ocean continues. The vessel was reported missing on Monday.
The occupants are the captain, an expert on the site, and three passengers. One of the three is now confirmed to be British billionaire explorer Hamish Harding.
There are occasional dives to the historic underwater site with submersibles.
The U.S. Coast Guard said it is possible that the craft is trapped inside the 111-year-old wreckage. Rear Admiral John Mauger is overseeing the search and rescue operation, which is centered about 370 miles off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada.
Mauger told The Mirror that there is no equipment on site that can survey the ocean floor. The presence of debris makes the search “difficult,” and presently he said the focus is simply on locating the submersible.
A submersible taking wealthy tourists to visit the site of the Titanic wreckage in deep waters off the coast of Canada was missing for a third day, as US and Canadian ships and planes swept a huge area trying to find the vessel https://t.co/rGcVell1AZ 1/5 pic.twitter.com/5YqCH3tJFr
— Reuters (@Reuters) June 20, 2023
The massive operation is being conducted by U.S. and Canadian ships and planes, and they are joined in the effort by commercial vessels. The Canadian Coast Guard deployed several sonar buoys believed to be capable of detecting the submersible, even two miles below the surface.
CNN reported the U.S. moved military vessels to the area to aid the search. The Navy command deployed advanced remotely operated dive vehicles to the site that are capable of exploring extreme ocean depths.
The search was hampered on Monday by mist and fog, but the Coast Guard reported that conditions improved on Tuesday to assist the aerial canvassing of the sprawling area.
OceanGate Expeditions owns the missing Titan sub. The company told the Coast Guard that the craft only has four days of oxygen on board.
Mauger said the belief is that there is anywhere from 70 to 96 hours of emergency capability for the passengers.
He explained that upon receiving the report of the missing vessel, “we began immediately to mobilize assets to search both the surface of the water, search from the air, and to detect any vessels under the water as well.”
Tours of the Titanic wreckage cost as much as $250,000.
Besides Harding, those on the submersible are identified as OceanGate founder and CEO Stockton Rush, French diver Paul-Henri Nargeolet, and Pakistani energy and tech entrepreneur Shanzada Dawood and his son Sulaiman.