This Wednesday, June 21, rescue teams from Canada and the United States are racing to try to find the missing submarine in a wide area of the North Atlantic, after they detected sounds underwater. From the boat, which disappeared last Sunday with five people on board while exploring the remains of the Titanic, resonances would have been issued, according to experts participating in the search, when there are less than 24 hours of the 96 hours in total that it has. the ship to remain submerged.
It’s an emergency search while time is running out. US Coast Guard and Canadian Armed Forces ships and planes survey a vast area the size of the state of Connecticut, or roughly half the size of Belgium, for OceanGate Expeditions’ Titan tourist submarine .
Time is pressing to try to find the ship –disappeared since last Sunday with five people on board when they were exploring the remains of the Titanic– after the Canadian P-3 plane indicated that it detected underwater “sounds of blows”, at intervals of 30 minutes, in the search area on Tuesday night.
The sounds that would presumably come from the submarine were detected when the clock marked the last 24 hours of oxygen supply that the boat would have.
“ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) operations have relocated in an attempt to explore the source of the noises,” but there are still no tangible signs of their exact location, the Coast Guard reported.
The mini-sub was designed to remain underwater for 96 hours, according to its specifications, which would give its occupants until Thursday morning a limit before their air tanks run out, should the Titan is still intact.
“ROV searches have returned negative results but are continuing” and their data was shared with US Navy experts for “additional analysis to be considered in future search plans,” the Coast Guard added.
“Every minute feels like hours”
The fate of the submersible and those on board remain a mystery as experts step up their efforts in the area.
A French research ship, carrying its own submersible diving robot and can go down to 6,000 meters, was sent to the search site at the request of the US Navy. It is scheduled to arrive on Wednesday night local time, according to the Ifremer research institute.
As of Tuesday, rescue teams had explored some 8,000 square miles of the North Atlantic, US Coast Guard Capt. Jamie Frederick said as the search reached its third day.
Jannicke Mikkelsen, a friend of one of the people on board and who has participated in other expeditions, said that “every minute feels like hours.”
Speaking from Svalbard, Norway, the woman pointed out that beyond a tourist trip to the remains of the Titanic, this kind of exploration also has scientific purposes.
“These types of expeditions are very expensive and we need people like Hamish who can afford and sponsor one of this type, but also take the risk of joining such an expedition with their experience,” he said, referring to his friend, one of the five missing.
The alarms went off Sunday morning US East Coast time when the submersible lost contact with its main surface vessel approximately one hour and 45 minutes after what was supposed to be a two-hour dive. to the site of the most famous shipwreck in the world and more than a century old.
The challenges of recovering the Titan submarine
Should the submersible find itself at the bottom of the ocean, experts stress that a rescue is unlikely, especially in an area of planet earth with enormous unknowns.
“We know more about the lunar surface than we do about the ocean floor, simply because we haven’t studied it,” said Jamie Pringle, a forensic geoscientist at Keele University in the UK.
There are only a handful of submersible vessels in the world that could reach the depths of the Titanic wreck.
But even if they did manage to reach it, those vessels do not have the power to tow the missing ship to the surface.
“It’s pitch black down there. It’s freezing cold. The seabed is mud. You can’t see your hand in front of your face,” said Tim Maltin, an expert on the Titanic’s sinking and wreckage.
On the other hand, if the van-sized submarine is bobbing on the ocean’s surface, locating it would be like trying to find a needle in a haystack, experts say.
The wreck of the Titanic is 2.5 miles below the surface. The submersible lost contact approximately halfway through her descent.
Who are the people aboard the Titan?
Little by little the identities of those who boarded the submersible are known, for a tourist expedition of 250,000 dollars per person.
They are a pilot and four passengers: British billionaire Hamish Harding, 58, Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood, 48, with their 19-year-old son Suleman. Both British citizens, according to reports by the US press and the British news agency Reuters.
From ‘Titanic’s greatest explorer’, to multiple world record holder and flying ace – here’s what we know about the passengers inside the missing Titan submersiblehttps://t.co/t8myOVFSwB
—LBC (@LBC) June 20, 2023
Also on the submarine were French explorer Paul-Henri Nargeolet, 77, and Stockton Rush, founder and CEO of OceanGate Expeditions.
“It would be a miracle if they come back alive,” Mikkelsen said.
With Reuters and local media