The tragic disappearance of the Titanic tourist submersible during its journey to the 111-year-old shipwreck at the depths of the Atlantic Ocean has raised concerns about oxygen depletion. However, despite this grim situation, authorities have continued their search operation. Let's delve into the latest developments surrounding this unfortunate incident.
OceanGate Expeditions, the operator of the Titan sub, has reported to the Coast Guard that the vessel was equipped with only 96 hours of oxygen, and the countdown reached its end around 7:08 AM on Thursday. The CEO of OceanGate Expeditions, Stockton Rush, was aboard the missing submersible. The fate of the five passengers on the ill-fated trip remains uncertain as the United States and Canada officials tirelessly collaborate to locate the missing Titan sub 900 miles east of Cape Cod.
On Thursday morning, the Coast Guard confirmed that a remote-operated vehicle (ROV) had reached the sea floor and commenced the search for the missing submersible. Additionally, preparations were underway for the French vessel L'Atalante to deploy its ROV into the water, joining the search efforts.
The Missing Passengers
Among the missing individuals are the vessel's pilot, Stockton Rush, and British billionaire Hamish Harding. The group includes:
- Pakistani tech and energy mogul Shahzada Dawood.
- His 19-year-old son Sulaiman.
- Renowned Titanic explorer Paul-Henri Nargeolet.
The US Coast Guard received notification from OceanGate about the missing submersible eight hours after it lost contact with its mothership, the Polar Prince.
Oxygen Depletion and Potential Risks
Experts have raised concerns about the passengers' well-being due to the limited oxygen supply within the confined space of the 22-foot-long submersible. Panicking in such a situation could accelerate the consumption of the 96-hour oxygen reserve. According to Mike Tipton, director of the extreme environments laboratory at Portsmouth University in the UK, people can only go without oxygen for around three minutes at a time. As the air supply diminishes, individuals may experience restlessness, headaches, confusion, shortness of breath, blue fingertips, increased heart rate, and, eventually, loss of consciousness. Going beyond three minutes without oxygen can result in brain damage and, ultimately, death.
In addition to the oxygen depletion, experts have warned about the potential risks of carbon dioxide poisoning inside the submersible. If the filtration system had been damaged or depleted of power, the passengers could have been exposed to this life-threatening gas. This unfortunate outcome is one of the three significant possibilities predicted by experts for the stranded tourist group.
Uncertainties Regarding the Submersible's Fate
Besides the oxygen and carbon dioxide concerns, the US Coast Guard has acknowledged two potential scenarios. The first possibility is that the vessel may have been trapped underwater en route to the Titanic shipwreck, 12,500 feet below the surface. The second scenario suggests that the Titan submersible may have resurfaced but lacked the means to communicate its location.
Current Status of the Missing Submersible
The oxygen supply inside the submarine has officially run out, adding to the situation's urgency. However, the fate of the five passengers on board remains unknown. The Coast Guard received reports that the occupants inside the 21-foot submersible, Titan, would have exhausted all breathable air by 7:08 AM ET on Thursday. Unfortunately, there have been no signs of the submersible resurfacing since its disappearance in the waters off Newfoundland.
Ongoing Search Efforts
The search for the missing submersible has entered a critical phase, with rescuers expanding their efforts across an area twice the size of Connecticut. Canadian aircraft detected possible banging noises inside the submersible, indicating potential signs of life. However, Coast Guard officials have cautioned that these sounds are inconclusive and require further investigation.
In this distressing situation, the search and rescue teams diligently work to uncover any leads and locate the missing Titan submersible and its passengers. The focus remains on identifying the whereabouts of the submersible and ensuring the safety of those on board.