- By Gareth Evans & Laura Gozzi
- BBC news
A submersible used to take people to see the wreck of the Titanic has been missing in the Atlantic Ocean with its crew since Sunday, sparking a massive search and rescue.
The US Coast Guard said contact with the submersible was lost about 1 hour and 45 minutes after the submersible.
Cruise company OceanGate said it is considering all options to bring the crew back safely.
Government agencies and deep-sea companies are assisting in the rescue operation.
OceanGate charges $250,000 (£195,612) a seat for expeditions to the Titanic, which lies 3,800m (12,500ft) below the waves some 435 miles (700km) south of St. John’s, Newfoundland.
The missing ship is believed to be OceanGate’s Titan submersible, a truck-sized submarine that can carry five people and normally dive with a four-day emergency supply of oxygen.
On Monday, Rear Admiral John Mauger of the US Coast Guard told a news conference: “We expect between 70 and 96 full hours at this point.”
He also said two planes, a submarine and a sonar buoy were involved in the search for the ship, but noted that the area where the search was taking place was “remote”, making it difficult to find. .
Rear Admiral Mauger said rescue teams were “dealing with this on their own” and were doing everything they could to get those on board “safely home”.
On social media over the weekend, Mr Harding said he was “proud to finally announce” that he would join the mission to find the wreck of the Titanic – but added that due to “the worst winter in Newfoundland Over the past 40 years, this mission is likely to be Titanic’s first and only manned mission in 2023.”
Then he wrote: “A weather window just opened and we’ll try to dive tomorrow.”
OceanGate said in a statement that “their entire focus is on the crew members of the submersible and their families”.
“We are extremely grateful for the extensive support we have received from a number of government agencies and deep-sea companies in our efforts to re-establish contact with the submersible,” it added.
The company sees the eight-day trip aboard the carbon fiber submersible as “an opportunity to step out of everyday life and discover something truly extraordinary”.
According to its website, one expedition is underway and two more are scheduled for June 2024.
The submersible usually carries a pilot, three paying guests and what the company calls “content experts”.
The trip began from St John’s in Newfoundland, about 370 miles (600 km) from the wreckage. Each full dive to the wreck, including the descent and ascent, is said to take around eight hours.
OceanGate’s website lists three submersibles they own, and only the Titan is capable of diving deep enough to reach the wreck of the Titanic.
The ship weighs 10,432 kg (23,000 lbs) and, according to the website, can reach depths of up to 4,000m and has 96 hours of life support for a crew of five.
A ship called the Polar Prince, which is used to transport submersibles to the wreckage site, has joined the expedition, its owner told the BBC.
David Pogue, a CBS reporter who went on board the Titan submersible last year, told the BBC about the problems both the dive crew and the land crew could face, saying there was currently “no no way” to communicate with the ship since neither GPS nor radio “works under water”.
“When ships support directly via submarine, they can send short text messages back and forth. Obviously those people are no longer getting a response,” Mr. Pogue said.
He added that because the passengers were sealed inside with bolts attached from the outside, “there’s no way out, even if you come to the surface by yourself. You can’t get out of the submarine. without the permission of the crew outside”. outside.”
The Titanic, the largest ship of its time, hit an iceberg on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York in 1912. Of the 2,200 passengers and crew on board, more than 1,500 died. .
Its ruins have been extensively explored since it was discovered in 1985.
The wreck consists of two parts, with the bow and stern spaced about 800m (2,600ft) apart. A huge field of debris surrounded the broken ship.
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