The Titan submersible launched Sunday morning into the North Atlantic with a four-day supply of air. According to information from the US Coast Guard and the forwarding company, the deadline to find and salvage the submarine is between 6 and 8 am EDT (1000 and 1200 GMT).
Experts stressed that this is an imprecise estimate and could be extended if passengers conserve breathable air. Since the submarine disappeared on Sunday morning, its fate is unknown.
The US Coast Guard reported Thursday that a Canadian ship’s underwater robot reached the bottom of the sea and began searching for the submarine. Rescuers have sent more boats to the place of disappearance.
Authorities hope the underwater sounds will narrow their search, which has spanned thousands of miles, twice the size of Connecticut, in waters 2 1/2 miles (4 kilometers) deep.
The Titan was delayed Sunday afternoon about 435 miles (700 kilometers) south of St. John’s, Newfoundland, on its way to where the iconic ocean liner sank more than a century ago. Since 2021, OceanGate Expeditions has been documenting the decomposition of the Titanic and the underwater ecosystem that surrounds it.
By Thursday morning, it was unlikely that anyone on the ship would survive.
Locating the vessel, reaching it with salvage equipment and bringing it to the surface, if intact, remains difficult. Before the passengers run out of oxygen.
Dr. Rob Larter, a marine geophysicist with the British Antarctic Survey, noted that it’s hard to find anything the size of the submarine (22 feet (6.5 meters) long and 9 feet (almost 3 meters) high).
He said, “You’re talking about totally dark environments” where an object several meters away can go unnoticed. “It’s just a needle in a haystack situation unless you have a pretty precise location.”
Donald Murphy, an oceanographer and former chief scientist for the Coast Guard’s International Ice Patrol, said the area of the North Atlantic where the Titan went missing on Sunday is prone to fog and storms, making search and rescue difficult. Passengers are also facing temperatures above freezing.
New allegations suggest that the development of the submersible included important safety warnings for vessels.
The submersible made world news on Thursday at the crucial hour. The Saudi-owned satellite channel Al Arabiya displayed a countdown clock to the estimated date of air shortages.
Capt. Jamie Frederick of the Coast Guard’s First District said a day earlier that authorities hoped to save the five passengers.
“This is 100% search and rescue,” he said Wednesday.
Frederick said the sounds could limit the search, but their location and source were unknown.
“We don’t know what they are,” he admitted.
The director of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Systems Laboratory, retired Navy Capt. Carl Hartsfield, described the sounds as “thumping noises” but cautioned that search teams “have to put the whole picture in context and have to remove possible man-made sources other than Titan”. .”
Some experts found the report encouraging because submarine crews unable to communicate with the surface are taught to bash the hull of their submersibles to be detected by sonar.
The US Navy said on Wednesday that it was fielding a salvage system that can lift “large, bulky and heavy underwater objects, such as aircraft or small boats.”
Titan weighs 20,000 pounds. The Navy’s Flyaway Deep Ocean Salvage system can lift 60,000 pounds (27,200 kilograms).
Stockton Rush, CEO of OceanGate, is missing. Hamish Harding, Shahzada Dawood and Nargeolet are his passengers.
According to letters from OceanGate to the US District Court in Norfolk, Virginia, 46 people traveled in their submersible to the Titanic wreck site in 2021 and 2022.
The company’s first client called its dive into the site two years ago a “kamikaze operation.”
“Imagine a metal tube a few meters long with a metal floor. You can’t stand up. You can’t kneel down. German adventurer and retired businessman Arthur Loibl said: ‘Everyone is sitting close to or on top of each other.’ ‘Not claustrophobic. “.
He said a fluorescent light stick was the only light during the 2.5-hour descent and ascent to conserve power.
Battery and counterweight problems delayed the dive. The trip lasted 10.5 hours.
OceanGate used a cheap video game controller to drive the Titan. The company says that many of the boat’s parts are ready to use because they are reliable.
Rush told CBC that the controller is “super durable” and designed for use by a 16-year-old child. “Just in case,” she said.
Sandbags, lead pipes, and an inflatable balloon aided the submersible surface.
Retired Navy Vice Admiral Robert Murrett, deputy director of Syracuse University’s Institute for Security Law and Policy, said the disappearance highlights the risks of deep-sea operations and recreational and marine space exploration.
“I think some people believe that because modern technology is so good, you can do things like this and not have accidents, but that’s not the case,” he said.