A submersible designed to take tourists to see the Titanic wreck has gone missing. Search and rescue teams are now racing against the clock to locate the small sub somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean. Surface vessel Polar Prince lost contact with the craft on Sunday (June 18th), a little under two hours into its dive to the famous wreck, which lies at a depth of 12,500 feet. The truck-sized Titan submersible, which is operated by OceanGate, is at full capacity with five people on-board. The sub typically dives with an emergency supply of oxygen lasting four days.
According to officials, various government agencies, the US and Canadian navies, and commercial deep-sea companies are all helping with the search for the vessel. At a news conference on Monday afternoon, Rear Adm John Mauger of the US Coast Guard said that two aircraft, a submarine and sonar buoys were involved in the effort, but he also warned that operations were difficult because of the remoteness of the search area. “We anticipate there is somewhere between 70 and the full 96 hours available at this point,” he said. The wreck of the Titanic wreck lies around 435 miles south of the Canadian island of Newfoundland.
OceanGate charges $250,000 for the eight-day trip to the wreck, and news outlets have been reporting the names of the well-heeled passengers thought to be aboard the sub: Stockton Rush, chief executive of OceanGate, who is presumably the pilot; Hamish Harding, a 58-year-old British billionaire businessman and explorer; Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman, who are British citizens; and French explorer Paul-Henry Nargeolet.
CBS reporter David Pogue, who traveled in the Titan submersible last year, told the BBC that the passengers were sealed inside the vessel by bolts applied from the outside. “There’s no way to escape, even if you rise to the surface by yourself. You cannot get out of the sub without a crew on the outside letting you out.”
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