By–Jonathan Mason, June 21st, 2023.
The missing tourist submersible Titan has not yet been located, and time is running out as the vessel is reported to have had 96 hours supply of oxygen for 5 people, which would run out early tomorrow morning.
The US Coast Guard says a noise heard in the Titanic sub search site gives them “a target, a focus”
The noise was picked up by a Canadian aircraft that’s involved in the search for the Titan. The aircraft drop buoys into the ocean which send out sonar pings to locate objects underwater and at the same time listens out for sounds such as engines running, propellers, and any unusual banging or knocking sounds.
As a result of the noises detected by the P-3 maritime surveillance aircraft, remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) were relocated “in an attempt to explore the origin of the noises”, the coastguard said on Wednesday.
A remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) – Victor 6000 – is also being used in the search. Also more ships are arriving in the area, but it is not known how they may be able to help, unless the module returns to the surface.
A French ship carrying the only underwater vehicle capable of rescuing the Titan five was today racing towards Newfoundland – but will not get there for several hours.
Hopes of finding the sub – which disappeared on Sunday while descending 12,500ft to the wreck of the Titanic – rest on the Victor 6000, which can reach depths of 20,000ft.
The remote operated vehicle (ROV) may be able to fix a cable onto the sub before it is hauled to the surface by the Flyaway Deep Ocean Salvage System, a specialist winch which in 2021 managed to rescue a helicopter from 19,075ft deep.
US media, citing internal US government memos, described them as “banging sounds”
Rear Admiral John Mauger says more vessels are being sent to the search site, off the North American coast
Contact with the miniature sub, which has five people on board, was lost on Sunday as it made a 3,800m descent to the Titanic wreck.
The sub’s air supply is expected to run out on Thursday, at around 11:00 BST (10:00 GMT).
If the submersible is on the ocean floor, it would be nearly impossible to rescue, experts say.
The Titanic wreck is about 2.5 miles (4 kilometres) below the surface. The submersible lost contact more than halfway down on its dive.
“It’s pitch black down there. It’s freezing cold. The seabed is mud and it’s undulating. You can’t see your hand in front of your face,” said Tim Maltin, an expert on the Titanic’s sinking and wreckage.
Mike Reiss, a previous Titan passenger, said: “They might be stuck at the bottom of the ocean. Perhaps there was a breach, and water came in; I’m not very optimistic for their return,” he added.
Sources: BBC, Al Jazeera, news agencies, Wikipedia.