Tapping noises that have given hope to search and rescue teams may not be coming from the missing Titanic submersible, a former US Navy submarine commander has warned.
It comes as search efforts intensified, with just hours remaining to save five people onboard OceanGate’s ‘Titan’ before they run out of oxygen. The US Coast Guard has calculated the sub’s air supply will run out at 7.08am – 12.08pm BST – today (Thursday, June 22).
The vessel lost communication with tour operators on Sunday while about 435 miles south of St John’s, Newfoundland, during a voyage to the Titanic shipwreck off the coast of Canada. The US coast guard has been leading an international rescue effort which was stepped up after underwater noises were heard on Tuesday and again on Wednesday.
READ MORE: Frantic race to save Titanic sub before midday BST on Thursday
Explorers Club president Richard Garriot de Cayeux said “likely signs of life” were believed to have been detected in the area where the sub went missing. It came as tapping noises were reported on Tuesday – and again on Wednesday
However, US Coast Guard Captain Jamie Frederick later told reporters in Boston: “With respect to the noises specifically, we don’t know what they are to be frank.”
And now a former US Navy nuclear submarine commander David Marquet has urged further caution. He told The BBC: “I don’t think the noise is them, it could just be natural sounds.
“We’re hearing noises and more ships are coming into the area, and then we’re hearing more noises, and I don’t think that’s a coincidence.”
Capt Marquet believes the odds of survival for those on board are low but have risen slightly, because the equipment needed to raise the Titan is now on its way to the area.
“It’ll be desperately close because it needs to be found before then,” he adds.