In this undated image, the Titan submarine is seen starting to descend. Rescue personnel have widened their undersea search in an effort to locate the missing watercraft that had five persons on board. (Image courtesy of Ocean Gate Expeditions/Handout/AFP)
On Wednesday, the fourth day of the hunt for a lost submarine near the Titanic wreckage began as rescuers fought against the clock to save the five aboard.
The North Atlantic is being searched by rescuers across a region of 7,600 square miles (20,000 square km). Around 12,500 feet below sea level, or more than four and a half times the height of the Burj Khalifa, is where the Titanic’s debris is located.
It’s completely dark down there. It’s quite chilly. Mud covers the uneven seabed. Tim Maltin, a Titanic specialist, reportedly told NBC News Now, “You can’t see your hand in front of your face. “It’s kind of like being an astronaut going into space,” one person said.
According to AFP, the difficulty is exacerbated by the intense pressure four kilometres beneath the surface, which is almost 400 times greater. Few vessels can withstand these depths.
The US Coast Guard, which is helping with the search efforts, predicts that the oxygen in the 21-foot boat might run out by 2pm on Thursday, UAE time (1000 GMT, or 6am ET).
According to its specs, the vessel, which vanished on Sunday, has 96 hours of air supply after it is shut. This is contingent upon the ship’s integrity and a number of other elements, such as whether the sub still has electricity in the frigid depths.
The US Coast Guard conceded on Tuesday that merely finding the submersible, which is run by Ocean Gate Expeditions, could not be sufficient because the search window was closing.
Veteran of the US Navy Dale Mole warned the Daily Mail of the dangers of hypothermia brought on by the cold temperatures at the ocean’s depths as well as hyperventilation brought on by panic episodes, which can deplete additional precious oxygen. He also mentioned the risk of slow suffocation because of the rising level of carbon dioxide.
The passengers were locked within the main capsule by 17 bolts that can only be opened from the outside, so even if Titan were to be located, they would still be confined and at risk of suffocating if not discovered quickly, according to the source referenced above.
On Tuesday, sonar equipment picked up thumping noises at 30-minute intervals, which is a positive sign for the survivors.
“Sonobuoys in the water picked up sounds. According to Reuters, US Coast Guard Rear Admiral John Mauger told CBS on Wednesday that the source of the noise was unknown.
According to the US Coast Guard, remotely operated vehicle (ROV) searches have been conducted in the region where Canadian aircraft picked up the underwater noises. “This is an incredibly complex site,” Mauger said, adding that it was challenging to pinpoint the source due to metal and other materials submerged.
Three paying guests were aboard the Titan submarine at the time: British millionaire Hamish Harding, who resides in Dubai, Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood, who resides in the UK, and Dawood’s son Suleman.
The Titan’s visits are managed by OceanGate Expeditions, which costs $250,000 per ticket.
Stockton Rush, the company’s CEO, and Paul-Henri Nargeolet, a French submarine operator known as “Mr Titanic” because to his repeated dives to the location, are also there.