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20th Jun 2023

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

Steve Hopkins

‘If they survive, it will be like a Hollywood movie’

An expert has said the chances of the missing tourist submersible being rescued safely after going missing Sunday on a Titanic dive is around one percent.

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.

David Concannon, an adviser to the company said that the Titan only had between 70 and 96 hours of breathing time left, AP News reported. It has been suggested the oxygen will run out at 6am BST Thursday.

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, 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, 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.

There are fears that the Titan could be stuck in the wreckage of the Titanic.

“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.

Speaking on Good Morning Britain an expert said that if the submarine has gone down as far as the Titanic, there will only be a one percent chance of the submarine being found.

“The margins of success are very slim indeed,” the expert insisted, the Mirror reported.

“It will likely be a one percent chance of rescue with them being found safe,” he added.

“If they survive, it will be like a Hollywood movie.”

Speaking to Hamish Harding’s friend, Colonel Terry Virts, explained that Hamish 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.

In a statement OceanGate Expeditions said: “We are exploring and mobilising all options to bring the crew back safely.

“Our entire focus is on the crew members in the submersible and their families.”

“We are working toward the safe return of the crew members.”

The Titanic wreck sits at a depth of 3,800 metres in the Atlantic, roughly 500km off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada.

The passenger liner, which was the largest ship of its time, hit an iceberg on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York in 1912. More than 1,500 of the 2,200 people on board died in the disaster.

The shipwreck has been extensively explored since it was discovered in 1985.

Related links:

‘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