Washington: The US Coast Guard has officially confirmed that underwater noises were detected in the search area for the missing tourist submarine with five people on board. The announcement comes after a Canadian P-3 aircraft detected the sounds during search operations. However, the nature of these noises has not been specified.
In a series of tweets, the Coast Guard provided an update on the ongoing search efforts. It stated that the underwater noises detected by the Canadian aircraft prompted a relocation of remotely operated vehicle (ROV) operations to investigate their origin. Although the ROV searches have yielded no results so far, they continue to explore the area. Additionally, the data from the P-3 aircraft has been shared with US Navy experts for further analysis, which will be taken into consideration for future search plans.
Before the official confirmation by the US Coast Guard, reports citing internal US government memos indicated that a Canadian search aircraft had detected periodic “banging” sounds in the vicinity where the submarine disappeared on June 18. However, the duration and frequency of the noises remain unclear.
The missing vessel is the Titan submersible, operated by tour firm Ocean Gate. The submarine was on a dive to explore the wreckage of the Titanic in the Atlantic when it lost contact about an hour and 45 minutes into the descent. It is a truck-sized sub capable of carrying five people and typically carries a four-day emergency supply of oxygen.
The search operation is currently underway in a vast area in the ocean, covering approximately 20,000 square kilometers, larger than the state of Connecticut. Rescue teams from Canada’s navy, air force, and coast guard, along with the New York state air guard, are providing assistance. In addition, a French research vessel and Magellan, a British firm specializing in deep ocean investigations and recovery operations, have joined the mission.
The Titan submersible is estimated to be located approximately 1,450 kilometers east and 643 kilometers south of Newfoundland’s capital, St John’s. Time is of the essence, as the US Coast Guard estimates that the submersible has approximately 30 hours of oxygen remaining on board.
The five individuals aboard the Titan include Hamish Harding, a 58-year-old British adventurer who has previously traveled to space and the South Pole, British businessman Shahzada Dawood (48) and his son Suleman (19), Paul-Henry Nargeolet (77), a former French Navy diver who has extensive experience at the Titanic wreck, and Stockton Rush (61), the chief executive of OceanGate.
The international search and rescue operation continues with hopes of locating the missing submarine and its occupants.