Nonetheless, a major search and rescue operation, which is being led by the US Coast Guard and involving military aircraft 900 miles east of Cape Cod, is continuing today. The US Coast Guard said the Canadian research vessel Polar Prince and 106 Rescue wing will continue to conduct surface searches while the US Coast Guard sent two C-130 flights to search for the missing submersible.
Military planes, a submarine and sonar buoys are scouring the sea bed to find the submarine – which was 12,500ft down, and directly above the Titanic’s wreck, when contact was lost. The Titanic’s wreck lies around 435 miles (700km) south of St John’s, in Newfoundland, Canada. However, the rescue mission is being run from Boston, Massachusetts.
Only three of the five people onboard have been named so far. They are UK adventurer Hamish Harding, 58, French submersible pilot Paul-Henry Nargeolet and founder of OceanGate Expeditions Stockton Rush.
Mr Nargeolet had previously warned of dangers of deep sea exploration. Sharing images of the expedition, Mr Harding had said the voyage was likely to be the first and only manned mission to the Titanic this year due to the worst winter in Newfoundland in 40 years.
The missing submarine is operated by OceanGate Expeditions, who charge tourists up to £195,000 for an eight-day trip to the world’s most famous shipwreck. This includes a guided tour around the famous ship – and is described as being ‘a scientific expedition with luxury hospitality’.
Despite this, a journalist who joined an OceanGate expedition last year has said, the submarine ‘had elements of MacGyver jerry-riggedness’. David Pogue – who said the craft also lost contact with the surface during his expedition – revealed the submersible is built from common parts that can be bought in DIY stores, camping shops and video game equipment suppliers.
However, Titan weighs 20,000lb, is made of “titanium and filament wound carbon fibre” and has proven to “withstand the enormous pressures of the deep ocean”, OceanGate has said.
The submersible was taking part in OceanGate’s third annual voyage to the monitor the decay of the ship’s wreckage, following expeditions in 2021 and 2022.