A British billionaire and explorer, along with four others, were reported missing and are now presumed dead, after a deep-sea submersible touring the Titanic wreckage failed to resurface on Sunday night, June 18 off the coast of St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada.
On Wednesday, noises were detected from the vessel, giving hope to US and Canadian rescue crews who had been searching for days for the missing submersible that was predicted to run out of its oxygen supply by Thursday.
Experts have been warning the company that the operation was dangerous and customers were aware of the peril that could occur.
The “Titan,” a vessel under the banner of OceanGate Expeditions, was found destroyed at a depth of 12,500 feet after failing to return from its expedition.
Passenger Hamish Harding, 58, sent a text to his friend, retired NASA astronaut Col. Terry Virts, indicating that weather conditions had been challenging but were improving. Virts later shared this information on ITV’s “Good Morning,” mentioning that Harding was cognizant of the inherent risks associated with the deep-sea journey.
Also on board the missing vessel were Shahzada Dawood, a highly affluent individual from Pakistan, his son Sulaiman Dawood, P.H. Nargeolet, a French navy diver, and OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, who was piloting the sub.
OceanGate Expeditions, known for providing exclusive tours of the Titanic wreckage at a price of $250,000 per person, necessitates a support ship for the vessel’s submersion and resurfacing during the eight-day-long tours.
The US Coast Guard estimated a window of 70 to 96 hours to find the missing vessel before its oxygen supply was exhausted. The search operation, occurring around 900 miles away from Cape Cod’s coast, was taking place at an estimated depth of 13,000 feet. The ongoing operation involved both ships and aircraft, and the rescue teams employed a remotely operated vehicle capable of reaching 20,000 feet, as revealed by David Concannon, an OceanGate advisor.
On Thursday, June 22, debris from the vessel was found on the ocean floor, close to the wreckage of the famous ship.
The landing frame and rear cover of the submersible were found at a depth of 12,500 feet. It is presumed that the submersible suffered a crack and imploded under the extreme pressure of the ocean, resulting in the sudden death of all the passengers.