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19 Jun, 2023 17:15

Titanic divers missing at sea

US ships are searching for a mini-submarine that was visiting the famous shipwreck
Titanic divers missing at sea

A deep-sea submersible has disappeared near the wreck of the RMS Titanic and search operations are underway to rescue the crew, the company OceanGate Expeditions said on Monday.

The US Coast Guard told the BBC on Monday morning that a search and rescue operation was being mounted in the North Atlantic. OceanGate later confirmed the disappearance of one of its vessels.

“We are exploring and mobilizing all options to bring the crew back safely,” the company said in a statement. “Our entire focus is on the crewmembers in the submersible and their families. We are working toward the safe return of the crewmembers.”

It was unclear how many people were on board the Titan, a mini-sub made of carbon fiber. OceanGate’s website, which is working intermittently, said a team of six “mission specialists” would be taking part in the ten-day Titanic Survey Expedition. 

After paying $250,000 per person for the trip, the participants would be trained in scientific research and spend eight days at sea. The experience was billed as offering “a chance to step outside of everyday life and discover something truly extraordinary.” The summer 2023 expedition was supposed to be the first of three, with two more planned for June 2024.

The Titanic sank after striking an iceberg during its maiden voyage from the UK to the US in April 1912. More than 1,500 of its 2,200 passengers and crew perished in the disaster. The wreckage of the ocean liner was discovered in 1985, about 600km off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada and some 3,800 meters beneath the sea.

Last month, another company revealed a full 3D scan of the wreck of the Titanic, down to the unopened bottles of champagne strewn on the ocean floor. The scan was completed by remotely piloted submersibles over the course of more than 200 hours.