As the clock ticks down on the oxygen supply of the missing Titan submersible, the passengers on board are likely experiencing intense emotional turmoil, according to a forensic psychiatrist.
The race against time is underway to locate the vessel, which disappeared on Sunday during its descent to the sunken Titanic wreck in the depths of the Atlantic Ocean.
Rescue teams are mobilized and conducting searches using remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) in the area where undersea noises were detected earlier this week. Dr. Sohom Das, a British forensic psychiatrist, believes that the passengers on the OceanGate Expeditions vessel are holding onto hope of being found, but as time passes, the harsh reality of their situation will start to sink in.
“It’s a roller coaster of emotions for them,” says Dr. Das. “While a part of them clings to hope, another part understands that time is running out.”
The trapped passengers will likely experience a range of reactions and emotions as the situation unfolds. “They may reflect on their lives while staring into the face of death, and at other times, they may feel extreme panic and anxiety,” he adds.
The submarine, measuring only 22 feet in length, is just large enough to accommodate the five passengers. It lacks seats and has only a single toilet with a curtain for privacy. The submersible embarked on its mission on Sunday morning but lost contact with its mothership during the dive to the Titanic wreck, which was expected to last two hours.
The submersible is estimated to have enough oxygen to sustain the passengers for 96 hours, with a deadline of 10 am GMT (6 am EST) rapidly approaching. Dr. Das explains that the trapped individuals will experience physical symptoms such as hyperventilation, dizziness, and chest pains, as well as overwhelming emotions associated with their impending fate.
While there was a faint glimmer of hope when sounds were detected from the depths of the ocean, indicating the passengers’ attempts to signal rescuers, the submersible has yet to be located. Even if it is found, a rescue mission may pose significant challenges and require additional time.
The search effort covers a vast area of the North Atlantic, involving teams from the United States, Canada, and France. The wreck of the Titanic lies approximately 900 miles east of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and 400 miles south of St. John’s, Newfoundland. The complex site, with various underwater objects, makes it difficult to pinpoint the exact location of the noises detected.
Experts agree that both finding the Titan and rescuing the passengers pose significant obstacles. If the submersible is stuck on the ocean floor, the immense pressure and total darkness at a depth of over 2 miles make a rescue operation extremely challenging. Alistair Greig, a marine engineering professor, suggests that locating the submersible without communication is a formidable task.
The sinking of the Titanic, which claimed more than 1,500 lives, has captured the public’s imagination through books and films. The renewed interest in the tragic event was fueled by the 1997 blockbuster movie “Titanic.”