Most Critical Hour for Missing Titanic Sub Is Here – Every Second Counts in Search and Rescue Operation

Even as by some calculations the Titan submersible missing in the North Atlantic since Sunday has run out of oxygen, rescuers pressed ahead Thursday in hopes of finding the vessel. Coast Guard officials have estimated the five passengers on the submersible could have run out of air at about 7:10 a.m. ET on Thursday, according to NBC. However, Coast Guard  Rear Adm. John Mauger said the search for the vessel continues and that its passengers should not be written off. “We continue to find in particularly complex cases that people’s will to live really needs to be accounted for as well,” he said. “The Canadian vessel Horizon Arctic has deployed an ROV that has reached the sea floor and began its search for the missing sub,” according to a Twitter post from the Coast Guard. (“ROV” stands for remotely operated vehicle.) The Coast Guard also posted that “The French vessel L’Atalante has just deployed their ROV.” Guillermo Söhnlein, who in 2009 co-founded OceanGate Expeditions – which owns the submersible – with current CEO and Titan pilot Stockton Rush, called Thursday “a critical day in this search and rescue mission, as the sub’s life support supplies are starting to run low,” according to The Washington Post. “I’m certain that Stockton and the rest of the crew realized days ago that the best thing they can do to ensure their rescue is to extend the limits of those supplies by relaxing as much as possible. I firmly believe that the time window available for their rescue is longer than what most people think,” he said. As noted by Reuters, the Titan began its descent at about 8 a.m. Sunday and was last heard from toward the end of a two-hour dive to the Titanic. The voyage began with an estimated 96 hours of available oxygen, which based on some calculations would be used up as of early Thursday. “When you’re in the middle of a search-and-rescue case, you always have hope,” Coast Guard Captain Jamie Frederick said Wednesday after a day of fruitless searching, according to NBC. If the Titan reached the Titanic, finding it may not be easy. “If you’ve seen the Titanic debris field, there’ll be a thousand different objects that size,” said Jamie Pringle, a forensic geoscientist at Keele University in the United Kingdom, according to Reuters. “It might be an endless task.” Reuters noted that finding the submersible is not the end of the challenge, noting that the sub is bolted shut, requiring help for those inside to exit if the sub surfaces. British Titanic expert Tim Maltin said it was “almost impossible to effect a sub-to-sub rescue” on the ocean floor due to depth and pressure. [firefly_poll]

Former Royal Navy submarine Cmdr. Ryan Ramsey called the Titan’s status “bleak,” according to Sky News.

“That’s the only word for it as this tragic event unfolds,” he said, adding that search efforts are in “almost the closing stages of where this changes from rescue to a salvage mission.” “The reality is, if you base it off oxygen alone, then they’re out of oxygen. Carbon dioxide is also a critical element to it as well as the cold. It would be a miracle if there were survivors from it,” he said. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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