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20th Jun 2023

Loose Women star Janet Street-Porter calls missing Titanic explorers ‘selfish billionaires’

Steve Hopkins

‘These people could be dead she’s talking about their morality’

Janet Street-Porter has suggested those trapped aboard a submarine quickly running out of oxygen are “selfish” for putting the lives of rescuers at risk.

A massive search and rescue operation is underway in the mid-Atlantic after the tourist vessel, the Titan, went missing during a dive to the Titanic shipwreck with five people aboard. The vessel is said to have between 70 and 96 hours of emergency oxygen onboard, with suggestions it will run out by 6am BST Thursday.

British billionaire Hamish Harding is on the submarine, as is French diver Paul-Henri Nargeolet, chief executive and founder of OceanGate, Stockton Rush, along with Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman.

The trip, which is thought to cost £195,000 per head, launched at 4am Sunday, but 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 Loose Women panellist opened Tuesday’s show by insisting that each of the passengers on board the submersible “must have known” the risks involved in undertaking the trip to the “graveyard” of the sunken Titanic ship.

She then claimed the rescue mission crew were putting their lives at risk to save “billionaires”, and stressed they were paid “a lot less” in order to save “what some would call selfish passengers”.

Hamish Harding’s friend, Colonel Terry Virts, told Good Morning Britain that the explorer knew the risks involved before embarking on the trip.

He added: “The wreck of the Titanic has changed over the years and it is starting to disintegrate, and there are several scientists on the mission. 

“It wasn’t just a fun trip, they were actually doing real exploration for all of humanity. The Titanic isn’t only important to Britain, but it’s important to everybody.” 

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.

On Tuesday afternoon, the US Coast Guard announced it was extending the search into deeper waters.

An expert earlier today predicted the chances of the group being rescued safely was one per cent.

It is feared the submersible, named Titan, could be stuck in the wreckage of the Titanic that it was diving to explore.

“There’s an optimistic option, and that’s that it’s either lost an umbilical communication with the surface or indeed there’s been a malfunction and the submarine continues to operate but obviously out of contact with its mother ship,” former Royal Navy Rear Admiral, Chris Parry told The Mirror

“Obviously, on the other end of the scale, there could have been an accident. It could have become entangled in the wreckage of the Titanic. It could indeed have had a catastrophic failure,” he added.

Related links:

Submarine expert gives grim prediction on survival chances of those on board

‘Claustrophobic’ photos show how small the submersible is that went missing during Titanic tour

Submarine that went missing on tour of Titanic will ‘run out of oxygen in 48 hours’

British billionaire among five still missing on Titanic submarine

Company which owns missing Titanic sub confirms people were onboard

Titanic tourist submarine used to view wreck goes missing