The search for a missing tour sub on a mission to view the wreck of the Titanic is expanding, with resources coming from the US, Canada, even France. But every hour that passes is one less hour the 5 people on board could have oxygen, which is just one of the daunting challenges searchers face.
The Coast Guard says five people were on board the sub as it dropped below the surface of the ocean Sunday headed for the wreckage of the Titanic including one pilot and four mission specialists. When the submersible went under water, it’s estimated there were 96 hours worth of oxygen. By Tuesday afternoon, US Coast Guard Capt. Jamie Frederick says: “We know at this point we’re at approximately about 40, 41 hours.”
The Coast Guard says it has searched an area the size of Connecticut, and is adding remotely operated vehicles to look below the surface. Ships and planes are ready to move from St John’s Newfoundland as the Pentagon takes action too. Sabrina Singh, Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary saying: “By the end of today, we would have committed three C-130s to conducting search and rescue flights.”
Officials say the scale of the effort shows success is possible. Yet details about a search turning to rescue are few. No rescue has ever happened that deep. Capt. Jamie Frederick saying: “If we get to that point, those experts will be looking at what the next course of action is.”
The last vessel communication was Sunday. A tourist who says he took four Oceangate dives, including one to Titanic, says communication failed briefly every time. Mike Reiss saying: “I don’t blame the submarine as much as I blame deep water.”
A friend of one of the missing, Terry Virts says “The good news is, there hasn’t been bad news. We haven’t seen wreckage floating, we haven’t heard explosion underwater in the sonar.”
Yet all know the time for any hope is shrinking by the minute.