Missing submarine en route to Titanic likely to have ‘very unpleasant, dark experience’
According to an expert, the five people on board the Titanic submersible that sank at sea may have had not only a scary but also an uncomfortable experience.
“As far as I know, the ships are not designed for long-distance, multi-day excursions,” John Mixson, a retired US Coast Guard commander in chief, told Fox News.
“So it’s going to be a very, very uncomfortable, dark experience with a lot of hope and prayer,” Mixson said.
The watercraft, operated by OceanGate Expeditions, was reported missing after it was unable to return to the Canadian research vessel it launched from on Sunday morning and crews lost contact with its captain.
“It’s hard to tell what actually happened when in a situation like this you just lose all communications until you find the ship,” Mixson told Fox News. “It doesn’t happen very often at all.”
“Obviously something happened very quickly and very tragically,” he added.
Search and rescue teams are frantically searching for the lost vessel as the submarine’s remaining life-support oxygen levels continue to drop from 96 hours as of 6 a.m. Sunday.
“I would say it is extremely serious. “It’s a dire situation,” Mixson said. “But on the other hand, it’s still classified as a search and rescue mission, which should give hope to everyone, including the family and friends of the people on board the ship.”
One of the ship’s passengers is British businessman and billionaire adventurer Hamish Harding. The identities of the four others on board have not been released.
The US Coast Guard is leading the search for the submersible that was en route to the famous underwater wreck of the Titanic as part of a research and tourist excursion. OceanGate Expeditions, the private company that launched the ship, offers private tours of the wreck for up to $250,000 per person.
The search is focused on an area about 900 miles off the coast of Cape Cod at a depth of about 13,000 feet – which, if successful, will make it the deepest rescue mission ever in history.
The record-breaking depth and remoteness of the site make the search particularly challenging, Coast Guard officials and experts said.
“If [the submersible] “If the ship has sunk to the seabed and cannot get back up on its own, the options are very limited,” said Alistair Greig, professor of marine engineering at University College London. “While the submersible may still be intact, once it’s beyond the continental shelf there are very few vessels capable of going that deep, let alone divers.”
Both aircraft and ships are involved in the search for the ship.
Authorities are also working to obtain a remote-controlled vehicle that can descend to a depth of 20,000 feet to the location of the missing submarine, according to David Concannon, an adviser to OceanGate.