A five-person crew on a submersible named Titan, owned by OceanGate Expeditions, submerged on a dive to the Titanic wreckage site Sunday morning, 18 June. The team of the Polar Prince research ship lost contact with the sub about an hour and 45 minutes later, according to reports from the U.S. Coast Guard Monday afternoon.
The submarine was lost about 900 miles east of Cape Cod, in the North Atlantic, at a depth of 13,000 feet. "There's no GPS underwater, so the surface ship guides the submersible to the shipwreck by sending text messages." But on this dive, communications broke down, reportedly.
The people on board include an operator and four mission specialists — a term the company uses for its passengers. The unique submarine craft that disappeared is owned by OceanGate Expeditions, a company that deploys crewed submarines for deep-sea exploration. OceanGate Expeditions has advertised this submarine's endeavour to carry tourists down to the RMS Titanic wreckage for $250,000 per seat.
News of the submersible's disappearance and search broke Monday morning, 19 June. At the time, Lt. Jordan Hart of the Coast Guard in Boston told CBS News that personnel led the rescue mission. They were focusing on the waters off Newfoundland in eastern Canada. Hart said Coast Guard personnel were "currently undergoing a search and rescue operation" to locate and recover the submarine. Sonar buoys (emitting an acoustic signal or pulse of sound into the water) have been deployed to search for the missing sub, recorded at 13,000 feet.
"Right now, we're focused on locating the vessel. But at the same time, they're also working with military partners and civilians to develop a rescue plan if the ship is underwater.
The company said it was "exploring and mobilizing all options to bring the crew back safely." The company did not specify how many people were inside the sub. However, it was confirmed that British-Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood, his son, Suleman, and French explorer Paul-Henri Nargeolet were on board along with Hamish Harding, a British billionaire, businessperson, and explorer. Stockton Rush, OceanGate Expeditions CEO, was also on board.
More than a century after the Titanic sank in April 1912, the wreck lies on the ocean floor about 400 miles southeast of Newfoundland.
OceanGate said recently on its website and social media that its expedition to the shipwreck was "underway," describing the seven-night trip as a "chance to step outside of everyday life and discover something truly extraordinary."
The submarine has emergency oxygen and a 96-hour sustainment capability if there's an emergency aboard. As of Monday afternoon, it was said there were "somewhere between 70 and the full 96 hours available at this point." It's been the third day since the incident, and still, it's an ongoing search.
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