Mike Reiss ‘not optimistic’ of locating Titanic submarine
A missing underwater vessel with five people on board has run out of the air supply.
Rescuers have been frantically searching a vast remote area in the Atlantic Ocean all week for a submersible that lost contact with land while visiting the Titanic wreckage.
It is understood British businessman and explorer Hamish Harding is amongst the party of five on board, as well as two British-Pakistani citizens, Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman.
Chief executive of OceanGate, Stockton Rush, and French explorer Paul-Henry Nargeolet are among the passengers.
Hopes were raised late Tuesday night when Rolling Stone reported it had seen internal US Department of Homeland Security emails on the search which said teams had heard “banging sounds in the area every 30 minutes.”
It has been speculated that the banging could potentially have been the crew hitting the submersible’s hull in an effort to be detected by sonar. This theory has, however, not been officially confirmed and noises underwater can come from a variety of sources.
Experts have also stressed the difficulty of finding the submersible and its passengers in such a huge stretch of ocean is stark.
“It is a remote area — and it is a challenge to conduct a search in that remote area,” said Rear Admiral John Mauger, a commander for the US Coast Guard who is part of the search efforts
“But we are deploying all available assets to make sure we can locate the craft and rescue the people on board.”
Speculation about the situation the Titan might find itself has ramped up since the vessel went missing. The most optimistic is that the submersible has undergone an emergency but managed to release a “drop weight” which would enable it to surface.
“If there was a power failure and/or communication failure, this might have happened, and the submersible would then be bobbing about on the surface waiting to be found,” Professor Alistair Greig from University College London told the BBC.
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A more concerning scenario would be an incident like a leak that causes the vessel to drop to the seabed.
“While the submersible might still be intact, if it is deeper than more than 200m (656ft) there are very few vessels that can get that deep, and certainly not divers. The vehicles designed for navy submarine rescue certainly can’t get down to anywhere near the depth of the Titanic,” Prof Greig added.
The company behind the trip, OceanGate Expeditions, charges guests $250,000 (£195,270) to take part in an eight-day expedition to see the Titanic. Each eight-hour dive to the site is supposed to incorporate a scientific objective, the company claims.
In order to visit the iconic shipwreck explorers must travel some 370 miles off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada. A vast field of debris surrounds the two sections of the Titanic lying at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.
On Tuesday, Express.co.uk exclusively revealed two of the crew on board Titan, OceanGate founder Stockton Rush and French Titanic expert and pilot Paul Henri Nargeolet, were involved in a similar mission where the vessel was lost for several hours last year.
Explaining what happened David Pogue, an Emmy-award-winning CBS journalist, who was also onboard the failed trip, said the system OceanGate used to communicate with a boat at the surface faltered.
“There’s no GPS, so the surface ship is supposed to guide the sub to the shipwreck by sending text messages. But on this dive, communications somehow broke down. The sub never found the wreck,” he said.
As fears have grown the British-based friends and families of those onboard have spoken out.
The Dawoods, who are one of Pakistan’s most prominent families with interests in agriculture, industries and the health sector, said: “We are very grateful for the concern being shown by our colleagues and friends and would like to request everyone to pray for their safety while granting the family privacy at this time.
“The family is well looked after and are praying to Allah for the safe return of their family members.”
Chris Brown, an explorer and friend of British billionaire Hamish Harding, told BBC Breakfast he thought the banging sounds reported by Rolling Stone were indicative of his friends’ actions. “That is just the sort of thing I would have expected Hamish to come up with. There’s always hope. As an explorer, you never give up anyway,” he added.
This morning a 308ft rescue vessel described as the “last chance” ship arrived at the site of the Titanic wreckage hours before the emergency oxygen levels are set to run out.
Traveling more than 400 miles overnight the Horizon Arctic ship arrived with heavy-duty cables.
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