The U.S. Coast Guard is frantically searching for a charter submarine that went missing on Sunday after it had set off to explore the sunken wreckage of the Titanic.
A private tourism company called OceanGate Expeditions owns the missing submarine, which had gone out to explore the “unsinkable” ship’s final resting place.
The wreck site is located around 900 nautical miles east of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and the OceanGate tour was set to return on Sunday, but failed to do so.
The underwater touring company is now working with a number of different government agencies hoping to track down the submarine and its inhabitants. Communication with the vessel had been lost prior to the submersible being reported as missing.
OceanGate Expeditions released a statement regarding the situation:
“Our entire focus is on the crew members 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 reestablish contact with the submersible.”
The company did not specify how many passengers were in the submarine, or if any of them were in fact tourists.
A Titanic tourist submarine has gone missing and a rescue operation is underway.
The submarine, which can hold up to five people, tours the wreckage of the Titanic for $250,000 per person. pic.twitter.com/6Mc0RCEP1m
One of the passengers has been identified as British explorer Hamish Harding, who served as mission director and crew pilot for a flight back in 2019 that set the current world speed record for the fastest circumnavigation of Earth by aircraft over both geographic poles.
In 2021 Harding dove to the Mariana Trench and set two Guinness World Records for the longest duration spent at Full Ocean Depth and the longest distance traversed at Full Ocean Depth.
OceanGate tours have been taking various individuals, including tourists who pay up to $250,000 each for a chance to see the Titanic, to the site the of world famous shipwreck since 2021, allowing for scientific research of the 883-foot ship.
The Titanic sank in 1912 when it struck an iceburg as it traveled through the Atlantic Ocean, and over 1,500 passengers lost their lives. The wreck site has been intriguing to many since it was discovered in 1985 (and even more so after James Cameron’s 1997 blockbuster film).
Interestingly, the ship is actually in two separate parts about 2,000 feet apart on the ocean floor, with both surrounded by debris.
OceanGate’s submarine, which is named The Titan, is the world’s only five-person vessel that can reach the wreckage of the Titanic. The remains of the ship sit over 2 miles below the surface of the ocean, which makes it difficult to search for the missing vessel.
JUST IN. A submersible craft used to take people to see the wreck of the Titanic has disappeared in the Atlantic Ocean with its crew on board, sparking a major search and rescue operation. The missing craft holds five people and dives with a four-day supply of oxygen. #Titanicpic.twitter.com/v6pCp4vtYz
Both the United States Coast Guard and Canadian Coast Guard are actively involved in a search and rescue mission off the coast of Newfoundland. And because of the limited oxygen capacity with the vessel, in addition to the overdue return, time is of the essence to track down the OceanGate submarine.