World June 20, 2023 | 2:52 pm

Desperate search for Titanic Submarine as oxygen supply nears depletion

Photo from Diario Libre

Massachusetts.- A high-stakes rescue operation is underway in a remote area of the Atlantic Ocean as rescuers race against the clock to locate a missing submersible before the oxygen supply depletes for its five occupants on a mission to document the wreckage of the Titanic.

Despite an extensive international search effort, officials from the US Coast Guard have reported that the 10,000-square-mile (26,000-square-kilometer) search has yielded no clues regarding the whereabouts of the lost submarine, named Titan. However, the search will persist.

According to authorities, the carbon-fiber vessel encountered a delay late Sunday, triggering a search operation in waters approximately 435 miles (700 kilometers) south of St. John’s, Newfoundland. On board were a pilot, renowned British adventurer Hamish Harding, two members of a prominent Pakistani business family, and a Titanic expert.

The submersible initially embarked with a 96-hour oxygen supply when it set sail around 6 a.m. on Sunday, as confirmed by David Concannon, a consultant for OceanGate Expeditions, which was overseeing the mission.

This means that the available oxygen could be depleted by Thursday morning.

CBS News journalist David Pogue, who had previously traveled to the Titanic aboard the Titan, stated that the vehicle employs two communication systems: text messages exchanged with a surface ship and security pings broadcasted every 15 minutes to indicate the submarine’s operational status.

Both communication systems ceased functioning approximately one hour and 45 minutes after the Titan was submerged.

Pogue told CBC on Tuesday, “There are only two possibilities: either they lost all power or the vessel experienced a catastrophic hull breach and instant implosion. Both scenarios are devastatingly bleak.”

The submersible is equipped with seven backup systems for resurfacing, including the deployment of sandbags, lead pipes, and an inflatable balloon. One system is designed to operate even if all occupants are unconscious, Pogue explained.

Experts acknowledge that rescuers face significant challenges in their mission.

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