The missing Titanic-bound tourist submersible has about 41 hours of breathable oxygen left – and even if the vessel is located, it would pose a “challenging” rescue operation, the US Coast Guard said.
Capt. Jamie Frederick told reporters Tuesday afternoon that the clock was ticking down for the life support system of the missing Titan sub, which vanished on Sunday and was equipped with only four days of oxygen.
“We know at this point we’re approximately at about 40 to 41 hours left,” Frederick said. “This is a very complex search and the unified team is working around the clock to bring all available expertise and assets available to solve this very complex problem.”
While officials admitted that the Coast Guard lacks a vehicle capable of reaching the 12,500-foot-deep wreckage of the Titanic, the search and rescue team is working to get a vessel capable of doing so.
Currently, a remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) has met up with Titan’s mothership, the Polar Prince, where the submarine disappeared about 900 miles east of Cape Cod.
Frederick said the ROV has begun an underwater search for the missing submarine, which is carrying five people, including the founder of OceanGate Expeditions, the private company that owns the vessel and conducts tourist trips to the Titanic for $250,000.
The logistics of a successful underwater rescue, however, remains complicated given the vast 7,600-square-mile search area.
Brian Trascher, the spokesperson for the United Cajun Navy, a non-profit that includes search and rescue, told The Post Tuesday that the odds of saving the passengers are exceptionally low.
Saving passengers aboard the Titan “would be about, as successful as say, if you had an astronaut doing a spacewalk and came detached from their spacecraft — trying to do a rescue like that in outer space,” Trascher said.
He added: “That’s kind of how vast and sort of ill-equipped we are in those types of scenarios.“ust sort of an anomaly in the search and rescue field.”
Frederick and Coast Guard officials declined to provide specific details on when capable rescue vessels would be made ready, only saying that more equipment was on its way and that the current objective is to find the submarine.
“You’re dealing with a surface search, and a subsurface search, and that makes everything complicated,” Frederick said, adding that the Coast Guard’s unified command will decide how and when rescue efforts would commence.
Tourist submersible exploring Titanic wreckage disappears in Atlantic Ocean
What we know
A submersible on a pricey tourist expedition to the Titanic shipwreck in the Atlantic Ocean has vanished with likely only four days’ worth of oxygen. The US Coast Guard said the small submarine began its journey underwater with five passengers Sunday morning, and the Canadian research vessel that it was working with lost contact with the crew about an hour and 45 minutes into the dive.
Who is on board?
The family of world explorer Hamish Harding confirmed on Facebook that he was among the five traveling in the missing submarine. Harding, a British businessman who previously paid for a space ride aboard the Blue Origin rocket last year, shared a photo of himself on Sunday signing a banner for OceanGate’s latest voyage to the shipwreck.
Also onboard were Pakistani energy and tech mogul Shanzada Dawood and his son Sulaiman, 19; famed French diver and Titanic expert Paul-Henri Nargeolet, and OceanGate founder and CEO Stockton Rush.
“We’re doing everything we can do to locate the submersible and rescue those on board,” Rear Adm. John Mauger told reporters. “In terms of the hours, we understood that was 96 hours of emergency capability from the operator.
Coast Guard officials said they are currently focusing all their efforts on locating the sub first before deploying any vessel capable of reaching as far below as 12,500 feet where the Titanic wreck is located.
While the Coast Guard has no submarine capable of reaching those depths, officials are working around the clock to make sure such a vessel is ready if and when the Titan sub is located.
As of Tuesday afternoon, officials said there was only 40 hours of oxygen left on the Titan.
Mauger, first district commander and leader of the search-and-rescue mission, said the US was coordinating with Canada on the operation.
Attorney David Concannon, who pulled out of Sunday’s dive at the last minute, slammed officials for waiting to deploy rescue submarines, claiming that one capable vessel was already prepped.
“They are mobilized. They’re sitting on the tarmac, ready to go,” Concannon told NewsNation of the crew who surveyed the Titanic last year. “This equipment has been on the tarmac for hours.
“We have people whose lives are at stake. You have to move. We have assets that are ready to go and they’re sitting and waiting,” he said.
SOURCE: New york post