US and Canada are scrambling resources to rescue a tourist submersible which went missing in the Atlantic Ocean. Bound for Titanic’s wreckage, the submersible known as Titan went missing on Sunday.
According to latest reports, there are five men aboard the missing submersible who have been identified as OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, British billionaire Hamish Harding, Pakistani billionaire Shahzada Dawood, Shahzada’s son Suleman, and famous French diver Paul-Henri Nargeolet. Notably, Nargeolet has made over 35 visits to Titanic’s wreckage.
With the search ongoing at the site located 1448 kilometers away from the US coast, here’s the timeline of how events have unfolded in the last few days
June 18: The crew began their expedition on board the support ship Polar Prince. The submersible began its 13,000 feet descent to Titanic’s wreckage with five men aboard. According to reports, it was supposed to send a signal to Polar Prince every 15 minutes during its journey. However, the support ship lost contact with the submersible after 1 hour and 45 minutes. CNN reported that authorities were notified when the submersible failed to resurface at its scheduled time on Sunday evening.
June 19: OceanGate Expeditions, the company who organised the trip, released a statement which confirmed that the submersible was missing. It said, “We are deeply thankful for the extensive assistance we have received from several government agencies and deep sea companies in our efforts to reestablish contact with the submersible.” Meanwhile, the US Coast Guard confirmed that it had launched an operation to locate the submersible. It could either have come back to the surface or it could be stuck underwater due to a technical glitch. Canadian coast guard also deployed a ship and aircraft to the site to conduct a sweep.
June 20: Authorities informed that the submersible is left with 40 hours of breathable oxygen. Reports stated that the search teams heard noises near the last known location of the submersible during the rescue mission. However, they could not ascertain the exact location of the submersible. Private vessels, along with US and Canadian ships, also joined the search operations during the day.
The search is expected to continue today as countries race against time to save men aboard the tourist submersible. To put things in perspective, the deepest underwater rescue mission was carried out 1,575 feet below the Celtic Sea surface in 1973. The Titan submersible can descent up to 13,000 feet under the ocean, posing a significant challenge for rescue personnel.