Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Missing submarine might have only 70 hrs of oxygen left: Report

A tourist submarine that went missing on June 18 during a dive to the Titanic’s wreckage in the Atlantic with five people on board, has only about 70 hours of oxygen left, with a massive search and rescue operation currently underway, a media report said citing a top US Coast Guard official as saying.

Addressing the media on Monday, Rear Adm John Mauger of the US Coast Guard said: “We anticipate there is somewhere between 70 and the full 96 hours available at this point,” reports the BBC.

He also said that two aircraft, a submarine and sonar buoys were involved in the search for the vessel but noted the area in which the search is taking place was “remote”, making operations difficult.

Rear Adm Mauger said the rescue teams were “taking this personally” and were doing everything they could to bring those on board “home safe”.

The missing vessel is believed to be tour firm OceanGate’s Titan submersible, a truck-sized sub that holds five people and usually dives with a four-day emergency supply of oxygen.

Tickets cost $250,000 for an eight-day trip including dives to the wreck at a depth of 3,800m.

According to the US Coast Guard, contact with the submarine was lost about an hour and 45 minutes into its dive on June 18.

In a statement on Monday, OceanGate said its “entire focus (was) on the crewmembers in the submersible and their families”, the BBC reported.

“We are deeply thankful for the extensive assistance we have received from several government agencies and deep sea companies in our efforts to re-establish contact with the submersible,” it added.

The Titanic’s wreck lies some 700 km south of St John’s, Newfoundland, though the rescue mission is being run from Boston, Massachusetts.

Hamish Harding, a 58-year-old British billionaire businessman and explorer, is among those on the missing submarine, his family said.

On social media over the weekend, Harding said he was “proud to finally announce” that he would be aboard the mission to the wreck of the Titanic — but added that because of the “worst winter in Newfoundland in 40 years, this mission is likely to be the first and only manned mission to the Titanic in 2023”.

He later wrote: “A weather window has just opened up and we are going to attempt a dive tomorrow (June 18).”

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