Titanic Tourist Submarine Lost at Sea Has 65-90 Hours of Oxygen Left
The submersible lost contact less than two hours after it departed St. John’s, Newfoundland Sunday morning.
A race against time kicked off Monday after the U.S. Coast Guard declared a submarine named "Titan" missing at 9:13 a.m. ET. The submersible's original mission was to take five people on a recreational dive to the wreckage of the Titanic, located 12,500 feet below the surface off the Atlantic coast of Canada. Both American and Canadian rescue teams are now involved in the expedited search, given reports that the ship only carries around 70 to 96 hours of emergency oxygen onboard. At the time of writing, that's roughly 65 to 90 hours.
Search efforts are currently focused on an expansive area in the Atlantic, approximately 435 miles off the coast of St. John's, Newfoundland. It involves ships and C-130 aircraft planes from both countries as the rescuers look for clues both on the water’s surface and up to 13,000 feet below. The U.S. Coast Guard-led operation is currently based 900 miles east of Cape Cod, though Canadian authorities are combing the area north of that.
The submersible left St. John's Sunday morning escorted by its support ship Polar Prince, which reportedly lost contact with the submarine one hour and 45 minutes into its journey. The 21-foot Titan is owned by OceanGate Expeditions. According to its website, the Washington State-based private company "provides manned submersible assets and expertise for commercial, research and military applications." It claims to have successfully completed over 14 expeditions and over 200 dives throughout the globe.
According to Reuters, a ticket for the Titan's dive to the Titanic's wreckage cost $250,000. In its report, the outlet claims that British aviation billionaire Hamish Harding is among the missing passengers. Harding is a known adventurer with several expeditions under his belt, including one to the South Pole accompanied by former astronaut Buzz Aldrin.
Other missing passengers include Pakistani billionaire Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman, as well as French explorer Paul-Henri Nargeolet. Stockton Rush, the founder and CEO of OceanGate—as well as the Titan's operator—is the fifth passenger onboard.
Several reports claim that the biggest hurdle in rescuing a ship as capable as Titan is deploying an equally capable submarine to the area. According to a spokesperson for the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defense, the Titan's depth capability exceeds those of the NATO Submarine Rescue System (NSRS), it told ABC News.
This is a developing story.