Search underway after submersible exploring Titanic wreck missing

A U.S. Coast Guard vessel sits in port in Boston Harbor across from the U.S. Coast Guard Station Boston in Boston, Massachusetts, June 19, 2022. /CFP

U.S. and Canadian ships and planes searched on Monday for a submarine that went missing more than a day earlier off the coast of southeastern Canada while taking tourists to explore the wreckage of the Titanic, officials said.

The U.S. Coast Guard said there was one pilot and four passengers on board and that the vessel had the capacity to be submerged for 96 hours, but it was unclear whether it was still underwater or had surfaced and was unable to communicate.

U.S. and Canadian ships and planes have swarmed the area about 1,450 kilometers east of Cape Cod, some dropping sonar buoys that can monitor to a depth of 3,962 meters, U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral John Mauger told reporters on Monday.

“It is a remote area, and it is a challenge to conduct a search in that remote area,” Mauger said.

“We are deploying all available assets to make sure that we can locate the craft and rescue the people on board,” he said. “Going into this evening, we will continue to fly aircraft and move additional vessels.”

Mauger said officials have also been reaching out to commercial vessels for help.

The private company that operates the submarine, OceanGate Expeditions, said in a statement on Monday that it was “mobilizing all options” to rescue those on board.

British billionaire Hamish Harding is among the passengers, according to a social media post from a relative.

Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son, Suleman, were also on board, their family said in a statement.

“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,” the statement said.

The U.S. Coast Guard said earlier on Twitter that a boat on the surface – the Polar Prince – lost contact with the submarine, called the Titan, about one hour and 45 minutes after it began diving toward the site of the Titanic’s wreckage on Sunday morning.

The British passenger ship famously sank in 1912 on its maiden voyage after striking an iceberg, killing more than 1,500 people. The story has been immortalized in nonfiction and fiction books as well as the 1997 blockbuster movie “Titanic.”

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