Just when you think there could be no more tragedies surrounding the Titanic, the story of a tourist submersible that disappeared during a voyage to the wreck of the mythical ship came to light. What happened to the crew? How did a group of multimillionaires come to be on that tourist trip? What is at stake?
Thursday morning was the time the oxygen levels were expected to run out on the submersible. However, although finding the Titan and its passengers alive is unlikely by now, a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) has just discovered a debris field near the Titanic Wreck were the Titan was thought to lie. The US Coast Guard confirmed the discovery but they’re still analyzing if the debris belongs to the Titan or the Titanic itself. They will held a press conference later today to share their results.
At the moment, one of the most popular theories about what happened to the Titan is that it may have imploded as a result of a hull failure.
So far, these are the main details surrounding this case that seems to be taken from a twisted science fiction story.
1. An Experience for Multimillionaires
The cost of this expedition is 250 thousand dollars per person. Clearly, a trip that not everyone can afford. The tour included an eight-day trip with several dives to the wreck of the Titanic at a depth of 3,800 meters.
2. Five People Were on Board
British billionaire Hamis Harding, Titanic explorer Paul-Henry Nargeolet, and the CEO and founder of OceanGate Expeditions, Stockton Rush, were part of the crew.
3. They Left No Trace
Contact with the small submersible was lost approximately one hour and 45 minutes after submergence, according to U.S. Coast Guard reports.
4. The Area in which They Disappeared is Practically Inaccessible
The wreck of the Titanic is about 700 kilometers south of St John’s, Newfoundland, although the salvage mission is being conducted from Boston, Massachusetts, in the United States. “It is a challenge to search for that remote area,” U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral John Mauger told a press conference.
5. They Were Supposed to Have Experience with This Type of Vessel
OceanGate lists three submersibles, and only the Titan, the one that was lost, is capable of diving deep enough to reach the wreck of the Titanic.
6. Warning, it Is Not a Submarine
It is a submersible vessel that weighs 10,432 kilograms. Unlike submarines that leave and return to port under their power, submersibles require a ship to launch and recover them. OceanGate contracted the Polar Prince to transport dozens of people and the submersible vessel to the North Atlantic wreck site. The submersible would make multiple dives in a single expedition. The Titan is made of titanium and carbon fiber and has proven to withstand the enormous pressures of the ocean depths.
7. It’s a Race Against the Clock
There’s not much oxygen left: Titan has a four-day supply of oxygen on board, which would have begun to be used on Sunday morning.
8. It Was Not Their First Voyage
These expeditions have been done before, once in 2021 and 2022. They are made in summer because the rest of the year… it is cold and there are icebergs, and they know what can happen.
9. Its Particular Purpose
The mission of this ship is to make a model of the wreck to document it and study how the Titanic is coming apart.
10. Sonar Buouys Were Detected
On Tuesday 20, sonar buoys detected sounds with half-hour intervals that could be transmitted from the Titan submergible that went missing three days ago while attempting to explore the wreck of the Titanic. The sounds were registered for four hours prompting operations to relocate their efforts. So far, they haven’t found anything and the situation is dire since the oxygen supply is expected to run out around 10:00 GMT on Thursday.
11. Possible Scenarios
According to specialists, submersibles are designed to float in case of emergency. “If there was a power failure and/or communication failure, the submersible would be floating on the surface waiting to be found,” Alistair Greig, professor of marine engineering at University College London, told AFP.
Another scenario is a pressure hull leak, in which case the prognosis would be dismal: “If it has sunk to the bottom of the sea and cannot be raised again under its power, the options are very limited. There are very few vessels that can go that deep.”
Story originally published in Spanish in Cultura Colectiva
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