US Coast Guard Capt. Jamie Frederick during a press conference on the search for the Titan in Boston on June 21, 2023 (AFP / Joseph Prezioso)
An extensive and grueling search continues for five people aboard a submarine that went missing during an investigation into the wreck of the Titanic in the North Atlantic.
“This is a very difficult time for the families of the missing crew members aboard the Titan,” U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Jamie Frederick said at a news conference in Boston.
“We have to be hopeful and optimistic,” he said. “Sometimes you’re in a position where you have to make a tough decision. We’re not there yet.”
But time is running out. The Titan, a small deep-sea probe belonging to the private company OceanGate Expeditions that has been missing since Sunday, will run out of breathing air on Thursday.
– noises –
Photo of Titan’s submarine courtesy of OceanGate (OceanGate Expeditions/Handout)
Sounds detected in the search area by underwater Canadian P-3 planes on Tuesday raised hopes and led an armada of rescuers sent to the scene.
But “I can’t tell what those noises are,” Capt. Frederick said Wednesday after research by remotely operated underwater vehicles and a surface vessel equipped with sonar.
Aerial surveillance using C-130 or P3 aircraft, ships equipped with underwater robots: techniques used especially by the US and Canadian forces, such as the Polar Prince, arriving at the point of departure from the submarine Titan.
Atlante, a French Ifremer research vessel equipped with a robot capable of diving to the wreck of the Titanic at a depth of nearly 4,000 meters, is due to arrive at the site.
A Canadian ship with medical personnel and a decompression chamber on board is also arriving.
A map showing the wreckage of the Titanic as several boats try to find the tourist submarine that went missing with five people on board on June 18 (AFP / Valentin RAKOVSKY)
“The location of the research, 1,450 km east of Cape Cod (on the northeast coast of the US, author’s note) and 640 km southeast of St. John of Newfoundland (in Canada), makes it exceptionally difficult to mobilize large amounts of equipment quickly,” explained Captain Frederick.
The surface search area covers 20,000 square kilometers.
– Security Complaint –
An American, a Frenchman, a Briton and two Pakistani-Britons sank on Sunday aboard the Titan, which has five people and is about 6.5 meters long.
Contact with the craft was lost less than two hours after takeoff. As of noon Tuesday, the U.S. Coast Guard warned that the ship had “approximately 40 hours of breathable air.”
Since Sunday’s search began, details have emerged involving OceanGate, suggesting the company may have been negligent in the safety of its underwater tourism device.
Undated handout image provided by OceanGate Expeditions founder and owner Stockton Rush (OceanGate Expeditions/Handout)
According to a report seen in 2018 by AFP, the company’s former executive, David Lockridge, was fired after raising serious doubts about the submarine’s safety.
According to this former director of marine operations, a porthole at the front of the device is designed to withstand the pressure experienced at a depth of 1,300 m, and not 4,000 m.
OceanGate’s boss, American Stockton Rush, is on his Titan.
He dived with wealthy British businessman Hamish Harding (58), French Titanic expert Paul-Henri Narcolet (77), Pakistani President Shahjada Dawood (48) and his son Suleiman (19).
For $250,000, they examined the remains of one of the greatest maritime disasters of the 20th century.
Photo released by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on February 15, 2023 The wreck of the Titanic was photographed during a dive in 1986 (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution / – )
“Every hour that passes is very painful,” Bernard Cavin, who worked with Paul-Henri Narcolet, founder and director of the Cité de la Mer in Cherbourg, western France, told AFP.
“I know his professionalism, including crisis management. He knows how to manage everything, psychologically and technically, he has experienced a lot,” he added.
In 1912, the Titanic sank on its maiden voyage after hitting an iceberg, killing nearly 1,500 passengers and crew.
Since the discovery of the wreck in 1985, it has been visited by scientists, treasure hunters and tourists, thus maintaining the myth.
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