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21 Jun, 2023 14:05

British mission to rescue Titanic divers blocked by US – Telegraph

American officials allegedly want to use their own equipment to raise the stranded submersible
British mission to rescue Titanic divers blocked by US – Telegraph

British deep-sea surveying company Magellan has reportedly been blocked by US officials from participating in attempts to rescue a diving team that has been stranded near the wreck of the Titanic.

In an interview with The Telegraph on Tuesday, Bretton Hunchak, the former president of the company RMS Titanic, Inc, which collaborated with Magellan last year to create the first full-sized 3D digital scan of the Titanic, stated that the UK-based company is in possession of a remotely operated vessel that can operate in water as deep as 5,000m. He noted that the device could be the only readily available vehicle capable of pulling up the stranded submersible.

However, Hunchak claims that the US Coast Guard has yet to give the British vessel permission to depart from the Channel Islands, where it has been stuck since Monday, to participate in the operation.

Instead, he says that US officials have said they would prefer to use a New-York based vessel that is only capable of exploring up to 3,000 meters. The wreckage of the Titanic currently sits at 12,500 feet (3,810m) below the sea.  

“Why not run both vessels? The more help we can get the better and denying us means you are giving up on every option you have to save lives,” Hunchak told The Telegraph. “These are irreplaceable human beings.” 

Meanwhile, Capt. Jamie Frederick of the US Coast Guard has stated that he was “not aware” of any reports suggesting that British assistance was denied in the operation. “We know that there is equipment out there that can be brought to the scene,” Frederick said, adding that “the unified command is working through prioritizing what equipment we need and then how we get it there.”  

The deep-sea submersible operated by OceanGate disappeared near the wreck of the Titanic on Monday. According to reports, the vessel was carrying five passengers, who, as of Tuesday evening are believed to have less than 40 hours of oxygen left. 

The US Coast Guard has said that it is currently searching an area of about 20,000 sq km. Meanwhile, a Canadian P-3 plane, using sonar buoys, has reported hearing banging sounds from an area close to where the submersible went missing, suggesting that the trapped divers are still alive and could be saved.