OceanGate’s tourist submersible Titanic, descending to the wreckage of the Titanic, has disappeared in the Atlantic Ocean, CBS News and the BBC report. The last time the company wrote on Twitter about the progress of the expedition on June 15, now OceanGate has confirmed the loss and announced the search for the device.
CBS, citing Lt. Jordan Hart of the US Coast Guard in Boston, reports that personnel are “currently conducting a search and rescue operation.” So far, the search has yielded no results. The BBC also reports that two planes are now looking for a tourist bathyscaphe.
The OceanGate website indicates that the expedition is scheduled for June 12-20. It is noted that the bathyscaphe can accommodate five people, one of whom controls the ship. The place of arrival is the city of St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada.
According to the British newspaper The Guardian, there are five people on board the bathyscaphe. It is noted that the British businessman Hamish Harding may be on the submarine – one of the seats on the device is allegedly booked in his name. It is known that Harding was part of the Blue Origin NS-21 mission and went into space on June 4, 2022.
Harding himself, however, on his Instagram (the owner of Meta is recognized as extremist in Russia and banned) on June 17 announced that he would participate in the dive as part of the OceanGate mission on June 18.
“Yesterday we set sail from Newfoundland and plan to start diving tomorrow around 4 am. Until then, we have a lot of preparatory activities and briefings to do, ”he said.
Action Aviation, which is headed by Harding, reported the day before that the head dived on the OceanGate.
“My thoughts and prayers for my stepfather Hamish Harding, whose submarine went missing while exploring the Titanic. The search and rescue operation is in full swing, ”Brian Zas, the adopted son of a 58-year-old businessman, reports Sky News.
CBS also reported that a year ago their correspondent David Baugh was on a Titan expedition. It is noted that “when he settled into the vessel, which, according to him, had about the same space as in a minivan, Pogue said that he “couldn’t help but notice how many parts of this submarine seemed to be improvised, with ready-made components,” including the game controller that was used to control the submarine.”
After the news about the loss of the Titan, Baugh said that the submarine had not been equipped with an emergency buoy the day before the dive, and its placement was actively discussed on the eve of the expedition. In addition, it is known that in 2022, communication with the device with the crew on board was lost for five hours.
On June 1, the company reported that communication with the device is provided through the StarLink satellite system.
Irish diver Rory Golden is also on board. On his Facebook page (the owner of the Meta company is recognized as extremist in Russia and banned), he wrote that the crew was in order:
“I’m fine. We are all focused. Please do not ask their names [who is on board], as this is tactless. I’ve seen inappropriate comments on social media before. I want to thank everyone who tried to send me a WhatsApp message. We have a situation that the search and rescue service is now dealing with. Our Internet access is limited. Information and updates will be posted as needed.”
What is known about the OceanGate submersible
The company claims that their Titan submersible is the only mini-submarine in the world capable of reaching the Titanic wreck, which is located on a little less than four kilometers deep.
OceanGate advertises its dives like this:
Follow in the footsteps of Jacques Cousteau and become an underwater explorer – start by diving to the wreck of the Titanic. This is your chance to go beyond everyday life and discover something truly extraordinary. Be one of the few who will see the Titanic with your own eyes. Your dive will not only provide an exciting and unique travel experience, but will also help the scientific community learn more about the wreck and the deep ocean environment. Each dive also has a scientific purpose and you can learn more about the research we support here.”
The company claims that the Titans are equipped with a real-time vessel condition monitoring system. Using various sensors along the entire border of the submarine, it analyzes the change in pressure as it sinks and transmits it to the ship’s commander in order to stop the descent and rise to the surface in case of danger.
OceanGate began accepting small teams of “citizen scientists” on a mini-submarine two years ago at a cost of $125,000 per person. Now the cost is $250 thousand.
The air supply on board the apparatus is calculated for 96 hours.