The U.S. Coast Guard announced on Wednesday that search teams scanning the North Atlantic for a tourist submersible that went missing during a voyage to the Titanic wreck detected underwater sounds. Canadian aircraft reported the sounds on Tuesday, the third day of the search, as the remaining oxygen supply for the missing craft was reaching critical levels.
Following the detection of the sounds, robotic undersea search operations were redirected to the area from which the sounds appeared to originate. However, there were no concrete signs of the missing vessel despite the efforts, according to the Coast Guard’s Twitter update.
The submersible in question, named Titan, is a 21-foot-long vehicle operated by OceanGate Expeditions, based in the United States. It lost contact with its surface vessel on Sunday morning, approximately one hour and 45 minutes into what was supposed to be a two-hour dive to the site of the historic Titanic wreckage. The specifications of the mini-sub indicated a maximum underwater endurance of 96 hours, meaning that if the craft remained intact, the five occupants had until Thursday morning before their air supply would run out. The fate of the submersible and its occupants remained unknown as search teams from the United States, Canada, and France intensified their efforts.
By Tuesday, aircraft and ships from the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, and Canadian armed forces had covered over 7,600 square miles of the North Atlantic in their search. Captain Jamie Frederick of the U.S. Coast Guard provided this information during a press conference on the third day of the search.
Among the individuals on the tourist expedition were British billionaire Hamish Harding (58), Pakistani-born businessman Shahzada Dawood (48), and his 19-year-old son Suleman, both British citizens. French explorer Paul-Henri Nargeolet (77) and Stockton Rush, the founder and CEO of OceanGate Expeditions, were also reported to be on board. However, authorities have yet to confirm the identities of any passengers.
The search efforts continue as teams from multiple countries work together to locate the missing submersible and its occupants in the North Atlantic.