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22nd Jun 2023

News channel slammed for starting Titanic submersible oxygen countdown

Charlie Herbert

‘I have lost faith in humanity’

A news channel in the US has come under fire for running an on-screen countdown timer to when the five people onboard the missing Titanic submersible are expected to 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, OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, French navy veteran PH Nargeolet and Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman are onboard the vessel.

As a massive international rescue effort continues, a grim countdown has also begun with the vital oxygen supply expected to run out at 7.08am US eastern time, 12.08pm GMT, a US Coast Guard spokeswoman has said.

But one news channel seems to have crossed the line for many by running a big on-screen countdown to when the sub will runs out of oxygen.

News Nation has broadcast an ‘Oxygen Remaining’ countdown timer for the missing Titanic submersible live on their cable TV network.

Several took to social media to voice their anger at the insensitive feature, with one person tweeting: “A timer is actually so wild. like you’re really counting down potential deaths??”

Another said: “At this point, this is a Black Mirror special episode.”

A third wrote: “I actually hate you all this isn’t something you should have a countdown for also, they deserve the criticism for having that how frickin insensitive are they? Again there are real people down there I have lost all faith in humanity.”

While another noted: “As they should… Y’all really think these ppl families wanna turn on the TV and see a damn countdown to how much longer their loved ones got to live???”

A huge search operation is underway for the missing submersible which vanished in the Atlantic ocean, 1,448km from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, on Monday (June 20).

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.

Related links:

Gaming controller used to pilot lost Titanic submarine has received hundreds of negative reviews online

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

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