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22nd Jun 2023

Deepwater robot finally reaches sea floor as oxygen runs out on missing Titanic sub

Charlie Herbert

There is still no sign of the vessel

A deep water robot submersible has reached the wreck of the Titanic just minutes before the missing Titanic submersible is thought to have run out of oxygen.

French research vessel L’Atalante has arrived in the search zone at around 2am GMT, carrying the Victor 6000, an unmanned remote controlled robot sub that can reach depths of 20,000ft.

It was expected to arrive at the Titanic’s wreck at 12,500ft around two hours after entering the water.

It has arms that can cut cables – or dislodge a trapped or stranded vessel – and may be able to fix a cable onto the sub before it is hauled several miles to the surface by a giant winch called a Flyaway Deep Ocean Salvage System, the MailOnline reports.

One of these is believed to be on a ship called the Horizon Arctic, which left Newfoundland yesterday and is racing to the area but will not arrive until later today. 

The missing Titanic submersible carrying with five people on board has likely run out of oxygen.

The OceanGate-owned vessel, with five people on board, lost communication with tour operators less than two hours into its dive on Sunday while about 435 miles south of St John’s, Newfoundland during a voyage to the Titanic shipwreck off the coast of Canada.

British billionaire Hamish Harding – who has previously travelled on the Challenger Deep to the bottom of the ocean and on Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin into space – is on the submarine, as is French diver Paul-Henri Nargeolet, OceanGate founder Stockton Rush, along with Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman.

OceanGate had said the submersible has a 96-hour oxygen supply in case of emergencies.

Using this figure, it was estimated that the submersible would run out of oxygen at 12:08pm UK time.

With this deadline having now passed, there is still no sign of the missing vessel.

However, it’s impossible to say with certainty when their oxygen would run out, and the search operation is still underway.

Search and rescue teams are scouring an area where noises were detected for the missing sub, with experts saying they are continuing to analyse the sounds which were heard as recently as this morning.

The only possible trace of the vessel which is continuing to be investigated was underwater “banging” sounds, which were detected Wednesday, but, the US Navy experts analysing the sounds said they cannot conclude whether they are coming from the stranded vessel.

More specialised equipment was due to arrive Thursday morning to join the search.

The search area is reportedly been expanded to 14,000 square miles.

The trip, which is thought to cost £195,000 per head, launched at 4am Sunday. Communications disappeared one hour and 45 minutes into the descent to the wreck site – which sits about 3,800m (12,500ft) below sea level at the bottom of the ocean around 370 miles off the coast of Newfoundland but in US waters.

The submersible is just 6.7m (22ft) long and has dimensions of 263 inches x 110 inches x 98 inches, around the same as a minivan. It is impossible for passengers to escape from, as 17 bolts are applied from the outside that have to be removed by an external crew.

The expedition was OceanGate’s third annual voyage to chronicle the deterioration of the iconic ocean liner that struck an iceberg and sank in 1912.

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