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Titanic misses hours due to lack of oxygen


The Titan submersible, operated by OceanGate Expeditions to explore the wreckage of the sunken Titanic off Newfoundland, dives in an undated photograph. (OceanGate Expeditions/Handout via REUTERS)

The aerial search for a missing submersible with five people on board was expected to last only a few more hours if this Thursday, the fifth day of a desperate multinational search in the vast waters of the Atlantic around the wreck of the Titanic.

The minivan-sized Titan, operated by US company OceanGate Expeditions, began its descent at 8am (1200 GMT) on Sunday but lost contact with its support vessel towards the end of what should have been a two-hour dive into the century. old wreck.

Leaving with 96 hours of air, the company said his oxygen tanks would likely be exhausted by Thursday morning. The precise timing depends on factors such as how powerful the craft is and how calm the people on board are, experts say, and assume the Titan is still intact.

Rescue crews and relatives and friends of the Titan’s five occupants were given hope when the U.S. Coast Guard said Wednesday that Canadian search planes had rrecorded underwater sounds using sonar buoys earlier today and Tuesday.

But the Coast Guard said remotely operated underwater search vehicles aimed at where the noises were detected yielded no results and officials said the sounds may not have come from the Titan.

“When you’re in the middle of a search and rescue case, you always have hope,” Coast Guard Capt. Jamie Frederick said Wednesday, adding that analysis of the noises was inconclusive.

The French research vessel Atalante, equipped with a robotic diving gear capable of reaching depths even under the wreck of the Titanic which lies around 12,500 feet (3,810 meters) below the surface, was moving in the area .

The French robot, called Victor 6000, has arms that can be controlled remotely to help release an IED or hook it to a ship for hoisting. The US Navy sends a special rescue system designed to lift large underwater objects.


The Titanic, which sank in 1912 on its maiden voyage after hitting an iceberg killing more than 1,500 people, is about 900 miles (1,450 km) east of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and 400 miles (640 km) south of St. John’s, Newfoundland.

The Titan was carrying its pilot and four others on a deep-sea excursion to the sinking, capping a sightseeing adventure for which OceanGate charges $250,000 per person.

Among the passengers were British billionaire and adventurer Hamish Harding, 58, and Pakistani-born business tycoon Shahzada Dawood, 48, with his 19-year-old son Suleman, both British citizens.

French oceanographer and top Titanic expert Paul-Henri Nargeolet, 77, and Stockton Rush, founder and chief executive of OceanGate, were also reportedly on board. Rush is married to a descendant of two of the Titanic victims.

“We’re waiting impatiently, we’re barely sleeping,” said Mathieu Johann, Nargeolet’s editor at its publisher Harper Collins.

Sean Leet, who runs a company that jointly owns the support ship, the Polar Prince, said Wednesday that all protocols were followed but declined to explain how communication ceased.

“There is still life support available on the submersible, and we will continue to hold out hope until the very end,” said Leet, general manager of Miawpukek Horizon Maritime Services.

Questions about Titan’s safety were raised in 2018 at a symposium of submersible industry experts and in a lawsuit brought by OceanGate’s former chief marine operations officer, which was settled later that year -there.

Even if the Titan were located, its recovery would present enormous logistical challenges.

Had the submersible made it back to the surface, it would be hard to spot in the open sea and it’s locked from the outside so those inside can’t get out unaided.

If Titan is at the bottom of the ocean, a rescue would have to deal with the immense pressures and total darkness at that depth. Titanic expert Tim Maltin said it would be “almost impossible to perform a submarine-to-submarine rescue” on the seabed.

“The wreck of the Titanic is broken into two parts and there is a cloud of debris around and between them – finding a submersible among these is not easy,” said Jean Jarry, an engineer who worked for the French research institute Ifremer.


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Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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