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Titanic Tourist Submarine Goes Missing, Rescue Operation Underway



An underwater vessel used to take tourists to the wreckage of the Titanic has gone missing, with a search and rescue operation now underway to locate the craft.

The submersible, which is roughly the size of a truck, went missing in the Atlantic Ocean on Sunday with crew members on board. Government agencies and deep-sea specialists are assisting with the operation.

The craft is understood to be the Titan, built by Washington-based exploration company OceanGate Inc. The Titan is designed to take five people to a depth of 4,000 meters. The structure has a life support span of 96 hours (four days) for five people, according to OceanGate’s website. Each round-trip journey to the Titanic wreckage can take up to 10 hours.

The difference between a submersible and a submarine is that the former is not as powerful, and sometimes relies on another vessel that remains on the surface. The Titan, for example, used a tugboat called the Polar Prince.

The Titanic lies at around 3,800 meters in the North Atlantic seabed, off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada. The cruise ship sank in 1912 after hitting an iceberg — a story that became almost universally known thanks to James Cameron’s blockbuster 1998 movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.

OceanGate first launched its Titan voyages in 2019. Seats on board cost up to $250,000 per head. One of its major safety features is a real-time health monitoring system, which was designed to analyze the effects of changing pressure on the vessel, and provide early warning signs of abnormalities to the pilot.

In a statement shared with the BBC, OceanGate said: “Our entire focus is on the crewmembers in the submersible and their families. We are deeply thankful for the extensive assistance we have received from several government agencies and deep sea companies in our efforts to re-establish contact with the submersible.”


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