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Rescuers race against the clock to find missing sub bound for Titanic

The missing vessel carries a pilot, a renowned British adventurer, two members of an iconic Pakistani business family and another passenger.
Rescuers race against the clock to find missing sub bound for Titanic
Posted at 7:09 AM, Jun 20, 2023

Rescuers are racing against the clock to locate a missing submersible bound for the Titanic wreckage before it's too late. 

The carbon-fiber submersible named the Titan, part of a mission by OceanGate Expeditions, is carrying a pilot, a renowned British adventurer, two members of an iconic Pakistani business family and another passenger. Authorities reported the vessel overdue Sunday night about 435 miles south of St. John's, Newfoundland, according to Canada's Joint Rescue Coordination Center. 

On Tuesday Rolling Stone reported it had obtained U.S. government emails that said a search aircraft had detected "banging" coming in 30-minute intervals from the region of the ocean where the submersible disappeared.

Scripps News has not been able to independently verify the information.

But with every passing moment the situation grows more dire. The vessel only carries 70 to 96 hours of emergency oxygen and fuel supply. It was put out to sea at roughly 6 a.m. Sunday, according to David Concannon, an adviser to OceanGate. 

As of 1 p.m. Eastern Tuesday, the U.S. Coast Guard says the vessel has about 40 hours of breathable oxygen left if it remains intact. 

Capt. Jamie Frederick of the U.S. Coast Guard indicated that searches are ongoing by air and sea. 

There is also the question of whether officials have the capability to perform a rescue if the sub is found. Coast Guard officials would not say if they have a vessel capable of performing a rescue at significant depths in the ocean. 

"We will do everything in our power to effect a rescue," they said, adding that all efforts are being made to find the sub. 

The search area is roughly 900 miles east of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, with an ocean depth of roughly 13,000 feet, according to the Coast Guard. The water is extremely cold, while the pressure is about 350 times what it is at sea level. 

British businessman Hamish Harding, who lives in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, was one of the mission specialists aboard, according to Action Aviation, a company for which Harding serves as chairman. The company's managing director, Mark Butler, told The Associated Press that the crew set out on Friday. 

"We're all hoping and praying he comes back safe and sound," Butler said.

Harding is a billionaire adventurer who holds three Guinness World Records, including the longest duration at full ocean depth by a crewed vessel.

SEE MORE: Search continues for missing craft with tourists exploring Titanic

Also on board were Pakistani nationals Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman, according to a family statement sent to the AP. The Dawoods belong to one of Pakistan's most prominent families. Their eponymous firm invests across the country in agriculture, industries and the health sector. 

"We are very grateful for the concern being shown by our colleagues and friends and would like to request everyone to pray for their safety while granting the family privacy at this time," the statement said. "The family is well looked after and are praying to Allah for the safe return of their family members."

Paul-Henri Nargeolet, a 77-year-old French explorer, is also said to be on board, according to Reuters. He is the director of underwater research at a company that owns the rights to the Titanic wreck, and a former commander in the French Navy. 

OceanGate’s founder and CEO Stockton Rush is also believed to be aboard the missing vessel, Reuters said. 

SEE MORE: Digital scan of Titanic shipwreck reveals never-before-seen details

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