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Search Continues for Missing Titanic Tourist Submarine

Five people, including the founder of the underwater exploration company, are missing on board the craft.

By Matthew Jackson
Wreck of Titanic in the Atlantic Ocean

Five people, including the founder of the company who launched the endeavor, are reportedly still missing two days after their submarine lost contact with the surface during a dive to view the wreck of the Titanic, which lies at a depth of about 3,800 meters (12,500 feet). 

The OceanGate Titan, a five-person submarine craft that offers tourists a chance to see the Titanic up close, went missing Sunday less than two hours into its latest mission, CNN reported. The craft was in the process of descending down to the Titanic site when the research ship from which it launched recorded the last communication with the submarine at 11:47 a.m. Atlantic Daylight Time. A few hours later, when the Titan didn't surface as scheduled, authorities were notified, and a search and rescue operation began. 

More than 48 hours later, vessels from multiple countries — including sonar-equipped crafts, airplanes, and more — have failed to locate the submarine after searching 10,000 square miles of ocean. On Tuesday, the French government pledged yet another craft, which will operate a submersible robot that can dive up to 4,000 meters, to the search effort.

The search for the missing Titanic tourist submarine is a race against the clock

The Titan is equipped with a four-day emergency oxygen supply for its crew, which means authorities are now racing against time to locate the craft. On board for this voyage, according to reports, were OceanGate founder Stockton Rush, British businessman Hamish Harding, Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman, and diver Paul-Henri Nargeolet. 

Early Tuesday, OceanGate released a statement regarding the missing craft and the search efforts.

“For some time, we have been unable to establish communications with one of our submersible exploration vehicles which is currently visiting the wreck site of the Titanic. Our entire focus is on the wellbeing of the crew and every step possible is being taken to bring the five crew members back safely. We are deeply grateful for the urgent and extensive assistance we are receiving from multiple government agencies and deep-sea companies as we seek to reestablish contact with the submersible. We pray for the safe return of the crew and passengers, and we will provide updates as they are available.” 

The Titanic, considered the height of luxury sea travel when it was constructed, sank just days into its maiden voyage on April 15, 1912, after striking an iceberg in the North Atlantic. Its loss remains a legendary ocean tragedy that has commanded the public imagination for more than a century. Public fascination with the ship grew when the wreck was finally discovered in 1985, and grew even more when director James Cameron released an Oscar-winning romantic epic based on the disaster in 1997. 

Want more Titanic stories? Stream Raise the Titanic on Peacock now.