Rescuers racing against clock in search for Titanic tourist submersible

Authorities in the US and Canada are racing against the clock Monday to locate a submersible vessel that was carrying people to see the Titanic wreckage site in the North Atlantic Ocean, News.Az reports citing Anadolu Agency. 

The vessel has between 70 to 96 hours of "sustainment capability if there was an emergency on board," US Coast Guard Rear Adm. John Mauger told reporters at a briefing. The assessment is based on information provided by the company that operates the submersible, which has been identified as OceanGate Expeditions.

Five people are on board the submersible. A submersible is different from a submarine insofar as a submarine is able to depart and return to port under its own power while a submersible requires another ship to transport it and return it from a dive location.

Mauger identified the vessel that took the submersible out to the dive site as Polar Prince, a Canada-flagged icebreaker.

The search is taking place about 900 miles (1,448 km) east of Cape Cod where the water is roughly 13,000 feet (3.9 km) deep, according to Mauger. Canada and the US have each deployed C-130 planes with Ottawa also sending a P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol plane to the region of the North Atlantic.

"It is a remote area and it is a challenge to conduct a search in that remote area. But we are deploying all available assets to make sure that we can locate the craft and rescue the people on board," he said, noting that the Coast Guard has been in touch with commercial vessels in the area to assist in the search.

Authorities were notified by the vessel operator Sunday afternoon that the submersible was overdue after it departed for the Titanic wreck site earlier that day.

Officials have not publicly identified the individuals who were on the vessel, but a Facebook post from UK billionaire Hamish Harding on Saturday said a "weather window has just opened up and we are going to attempt a dive tomorrow."

"We started steaming from St. Johns, Newfoundland, Canada yesterday and are planning to start dive operations around 4am tomorrow morning. Until then we have a lot of preparations and briefings to do," he wrote.

"The team on the sub has a couple of legendary explorers, some of which have done over 30 dives to the RMS Titanic since the 1980s including PH Nargeolet. More expedition updates to follow IF the weather holds!" he added.

News.Az 

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