A rescue operation is underway deep in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean in search of a technologically advanced submersible vessel carrying five people to document the wreckage of the Titanic, the iconic ocean liner that sank more than a century ago. A top US Coast Guard official said the passengers onboard the vessel, including British billionaire Hamish Harding, could have just 70 hours of oxygen left, although other reports differ.
According to the Coast Guard, the craft submerged Sunday morning, and its support vessel, the Canadian research icebreaker Polar Prince, lost contact with it about an hour and 45 minutes later.
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British billionaire among passengers on the missing submersible
British businessman Hamish Harding, who lives in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, is one of the mission specialists aboard the missing expedition, according to Action Aviation, a company for which Harding serves as chairman.
The company’s managing director, Mark Butler, told the Associated Press that the crew set out on Friday.
“There is still plenty of time to facilitate a rescue mission, there is equipment on board for survival in this event,” Mr Butler said. “We’re all hoping and praying he comes back safe and sound.”
Mr Harding is a billionaire adventurer who holds three Guinness World Records, including the longest duration at full ocean depth by a crewed vessel. In March 2021, he and ocean explorer Victor Vescovo dived to the lowest depth of the Mariana Trench. In June 2022, he went into space on Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket.
Mr Harding was “looking forward to conducting research” at the Titanic site, said Richard Garriott de Cayeux, the president of The Explorers Club, a group to which Harding belonged.
“We all join in the fervent hope that the submersible is located as quickly as possible,” he said in a statement.
‘No back up, no escape pod’: My trip aboard the sub
A CBS journalist has given a horrifying insight into the submersible that has gone missing during its journey the the shipwreck of the Titanic.
David Pogue was invited to travel on OceanGate’s Titan submersible on a press trip last year.
He told the BBC that passengers were sealed inside the main capsule by several bolts that were applied from the outside and had to be removed by an external crew.
He said he initially thought the sub seemed improvised: “You steer this sub with an Xbox game controller, some of the ballast is abandoned construction pipes.”
If the sub became trapped or sprung a leak “there’s no backup, there’s no escape pod”, he said.
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Shipwreck expert speaks of ‘seriousness’ of missing submersible
A shipwreck analyst and deep-ocean historian who worked as a technical advisor for the blockbuster movie Titanic has issued a chilling warning about the tourist submersible that has gone missing in the Atlantic.
As a technical adviser on the film, Parks Stephenson carried out extensive exploration inside the wreck.
Mr Stephenson first dived the Titanic wreck with director James Cameron in 2005, and has been back to the wreck site five times since then. He has also been twice to the wreck of the Titanic’s sister ship, Britannic.
Writing on his Facebook page, he said: “No matter what you may read in the coming hours, all that is truly known at this time is that communications with the submersible have been lost and that is unusual enough to warrant the most serious consideration.
“I am most concerned about the souls aboard, whose identities have not yet been made public.”
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