A tourist submarine named Titan, owned by OceanGate Expeditions, disappeared during an expedition to explore the iconic Titanic shipwreck in the North Atlantic. The submersible, carrying a five-person crew, submerged on Sunday morning and lost contact with the surface less than two hours later. The search and rescue efforts involving multiple agencies have been underway, but as time passes, concerns for the safety of the passengers and crew grow. Here is what we know about the incident so far.
Missing Tourist Submarine on the Titanic Expedition
The submersible, Titan, operated by Ocean Gate Expeditions, was on a mission to explore the Titanic wreckage site when it lost contact with the crew of the research ship, Polar Prince. The incident occurred in an area approximately 900 miles east of Cape Cod, with a depth of about 13,000 feet. The U.S. Coast Guard confirmed that the submersible had less than 40 hours of breathable air left as of Tuesday evening, adding urgency to the rescue operation.
Search and Rescue Efforts
A massive search operation involving the U.S. Coast Guard, Canadian coast guard, U.S. Navy, and Air National Guard has been underway since the submersible disappeared. The combined search area covered more than 7,600 square miles, larger than the state of Connecticut. Aircraft, vessels, and remotely operated vehicles have been deployed to locate the missing submersible.
The search operations have faced challenges due to the remote location and the depth of the search area. Sonar buoys have been deployed to listen for any sounds or signals from the submersible. The Coast Guard has been coordinating with military partners and civilian organizations to develop a rescue plan if the sub is located underwater.
The Missing Submersible
According to CBS News, The missing submersible, Titan, belongs to OceanGate Expeditions, a company specializing in deep-sea exploration. The submersible was specifically designed to carry tourists to the Titanic wreckage site, offering them a chance to witness the historic site firsthand. OceanGate had advertised the expedition, allowing tourists to join for a fee of $250,000 per seat.
The company confirmed the disappearance of their submersible and initiated a rescue operation to locate and recover it. They expressed deep concern for the safety of the crew and passengers aboard the sub and pledged to explore all available options to bring them back safely. While the exact number of individuals inside the submersible has not been disclosed, it is believed to be carrying several mission specialists, including British billionaire and adventurer, Hamish Harding.
Passengers on board
In addition to Hamish Harding, other passengers aboard the submersible have been identified. British-Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son, Suleman, were among the missing. Shahzada Dawood is the vice chairman of the Dawood Hercules Corporation and an esteemed member of the Seti Institute’s board of trustees. French explorer Paul-Henri Nargeolet, known for his involvement in the first expedition to the Titanic wreck in 1987, was also on board.
Concern and Hope
The disappearance of the tourist submersible has sparked international concern and an outpouring of support. Governments, including the United Kingdom, have pledged assistance and expressed hope for the safe return of the passengers and crew. The families of those missing are being supported, and efforts are being made to keep them informed about the ongoing rescue operation.
As the search and rescue efforts continue, the focus remains on locating the submersible and ensuring the safety of the individuals on board. Despite the challenges posed by the remote location and the depth of the search area, authorities are determined to exhaust all available resources in the hopes of a successful rescue.