Fears have grown for the missing Titanic submarine as it approaches its final few hours of oxygen remaining on board.
The vessel is expected to run out of oxygen around 7am EST.
Harris acknowledged the Navy’s limited ability to aid in the rescue efforts, explaining, “I don’t see anything that can happen at this point.” With immense pressure at a depth of 3,200 meters, he emphasized the perilous environment faced by the submersible and its occupants. Crossing one’s t’s and dotting one’s i’s becomes crucial in such extreme conditions.
The treacherous location of the Titanic’s wreckage, nearly 13,000 feet below sea level, is a destination that very few have reached. Rear Admiral John Mauger, overseeing the search and rescue mission, mentioned the possibility of the submersible being trapped within the ship itself. However, the debris and challenges of locating it pose significant obstacles.
Michael Guillen, a former ABC science editor, recounted a similar incident he experienced during a trip to the Titanic in 2000. Their submersible collided with the ship’s propeller, leading to a tense moment of being trapped beneath the stern. Guillen vividly remembered the fear and the unsettling realization that it could be the end. Fortunately, a skilled team managed to free the submersible and navigate it back to the surface.
The Coast Guard expressed hope that the missing submersible may still be floating undetected in the vast expanse of the ocean. Their search efforts continue, with improved visibility as the fog clears. OceanGate Expeditions confirmed the disappearance of their new submersible, carrying a group that included British billionaire Hamish Harding, Pakistani businessman Shanzada Dawood, his son Sulaiman, French deep diver Paul-Henri Nargeolet, and OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush.
The craft, measuring 21 feet in length, lost contact with its mothership, the Polar Prince, about an hour and 45 minutes after submerging 400 miles south of St. John’s, Newfoundland. Unfortunately, the delayed report of the submersible’s disappearance to the US Coast Guard leaves limited time for the rescue mission. While the vessel initially had up to 96 hours of emergency oxygen, it is estimated that only a few hours remain.
The ongoing search operation is focused on a depth of nearly 13,000 feet, approximately 900 miles off the coast of Cape Cod. This rescue mission, if successful, would be the deepest ever undertaken. However, the immense depth poses significant challenges, as few craft are capable of reaching such depths, let alone attaching to the submersible and bringing it to the surface.
The situation is compounded by the fact that a submersible lacks the power to self-launch and return to the surface. It requires a support ship for launching and recovery. The use of a newly created submersible for tourist purposes adds another layer of complexity and uncertainty to the situation.
As Harris sombrely noted, the outlook appears bleak.