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Search continues for missing craft with tourists exploring Titanic

The U.S. Coast Guard in Boston said it initiated a search and rescue mission. The tour operator said it was "mobilizing all options."
Search continues for missing craft with tourists exploring Titanic
Posted at 11:58 AM, Jun 19, 2023

The U.S. Coast Guard is continuing its search and rescue mission for a missing submersible craft operated by a company that takes tourists to sites of the Titanic's wreckage.

According to the Coast Guard, the submersible carrying at least five people failed to return to the surface on time this past weekend after an eight-day voyage to the shipwreck, leading Coast Guard out of Boston along with Canadian authorities to conduct a search.

The company, Ocean Gate Expeditions, said in a statement it was exploring all options in their search and rescue efforts and that it was receiving assistance from several government agencies and other deep sea companies to try and reestablish contact with the vessel.

"Our entire focus is on the crew members in the submersible and their families," the statement said.

British explorer and billionaire Hamish Harding was one of those aboard the missing submersible, according to Action Aviation of which Harding is chairman.

The Coast Guard said it planned to keep in touch with multiple authorities to know what the capabilities for the vessel are as they continue the search. It had learned, however, that the vessel has a 96-hour sustainable capability after an emergency on board, and rescuers are operating with that in mind.

But rescuers were not certain if the vessel had moved to the surface of the water or if it was submerged. They're using both air and sea resources to try and locate the submersible, including the Coast Guard using sonar buoys to see if it can detect any sounds in the water column.

Ship tracking company MarineTraffic said in a tweet that it observed three tugboats heading in the vicinity of the Titanic site.

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

Scripps News has reached out to OceanGate Expeditions and the Coast Guard of Boston for more information on the missing submersible.

Since its launch in 2021, each OceanGate Expeditions trip to the Titanic ruins has carried archaeologists and marine biologists for research and monitoring of the wreckage deterioration. And for a quarter of a million dollars, tourists can pay to board the small, five-person submersible called "The Titan." The tourists also take turns operating sonar equipment and performing other tasks.

The Titanic sank on April 15, 1912, after hitting an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean. The wreck now rest about 400 miles off the coast of Newfoundland and more than 12,000 feet down in the North Atlantic. 

Some scientists worry the legendary ship won't be around much longer, as deterioration of the wreck increases over time. 

SEE MORE: As scientists debate the future of the Titanic, the ocean is eating it

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