‘Only ship capable of rescue’ won’t arrive until tonight

Sub Levels

By Elena Salvoni and Nick Pisa and Eirian Jane Prosser and Alice Wright and Rory Tingle and Xantha Leatham

14:10 21 Jun 2023, updated 01:00 22 Jun 2023

The family of the missing Titan sub tourists, Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his 19-year-old son Suleman, have gathered above the water where the vessel was last seen as oxygen levels continue to diminish onboard.

Operated by OceanGate Expeditions, the sub has been underwater since Sunday with five onboard, including British billionaire Hamish Harding, OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, a French navy veteran and the UK-based businessman and his son.

A family source in Karachi, Pakistani, where Mr Dawood is from, released a new picture of the father and son to MailOnline and said: ‘I can tell you that Mrs Dawood and her daughter are currently in the search area at the moment and will remain there for as long as they can.

‘Naturally this is a very tough time for the family and they’re not coping at all well with the situation, they are drawing strength from each other and hoping and praying for the best.

‘The messages of support they are getting from all around the world are also keeping them positive and they are grateful for everyone’s kind thoughts and wishes.

Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood is one of five passengers onboard the OceanGate Titan sub
Suleman Dawood, 19, is the youngest passenger on the missing sub, which was last seen on Sunday
Timeline (British Summer Time) of the search for the Ocean Gate submersible, if Titan has lost its power the crew will be in complete darkness facing temperatures of 3C

‘It’s not clear what it was that made Mr Dawood want to go and visit the Titanic with his son, but he is driven by a passion of exploration, and I understand this was something that had been planned for some time.’

This afternoon, the sister of the businessman said the family’s ‘sole focus’ is on their rescue, as the sub is believed to have less than 20 hours of oxygen left.

In a statement, Sabrina Dawood added: ‘May Shahzada and Suleman return to us safe and sound. We are sure they would be as moved as we are by the support of the global community during this period of difficulty.’

At a press conference this evening, US Coastguard Captain Jamie Frederick insisted there is still hope for the five missing crew members, despite dwindling oxygen supplies. 

‘We have to remain optimistic and hopeful when we are in a search and rescue case.

‘If we continue to search, potentially we could be at that point… And that’s a discussion we will have with the families long before I am going to discuss here publicly.’

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

Experts earlier warned however that the underwater sounds were not necessarily ‘banging’, as was previously suggested, and said that were concerned about speculation that they were human-made and may have come from the sub.

Regarding the noises, which were first detected yesterday and heard again today, Capt Frederick admitted: ‘We don’t know what they are, to be frank with you… The good news is that we are searching in the area where the noises were detected’. 

‘Sometimes, we don’t find what we are looking for and you have to carefully consider all of the factors and make a tough decision but we are not there yet,’ he said. 

As time runs out, more equipment is expected to arrive as late as tomorrow morning, including more remote operated vehicles (ROV) to detect noise as planes continue to scour the ocean from above. 

The search area has now expanded to around 14,000 square miles – twice the size of the state of Connecticut – and equipment in the sub-surface search is currently only able to reach depths of about 13,000 feet.

Suleman Dawood, 19, who is missing on board the sub is pictured with his mother Christine
Shahzada Dawood, 48, (pictured with his wife Christine) is a UK-based board member of the Prince’s Trust charity
Five people are onboard, including British billionaire adventurer Hamish Harding

A French ship carrying an underwater vehicle capable of rescuing the Titan five was today racing towards Newfoundland but will not get there until midnight UK time – leaving less than 12 hours to find the stricken sub before the oxygen runs out.

Hopes of finding the sub – which disappeared on Sunday while descending 12,500ft to the wreck of the Titanic – rest on the Victor 6000, which can reach depths of 20,000ft. 

But rescuers face a battle against time, with US Coast Guards estimating the sub may have less than 20 hours of oxygen left. An expert said those inside would be trying to minimise their breathing to preserve the remaining supplies. 

The Victor 6000 ROV may be able to fix a cable onto the sub before it is hauled to the surface by the Flyaway Deep Ocean Salvage System, a specialist winch which in 2021 managed to rescue a helicopter from 19,075ft deep.

A team from France is expected to arrive in Canada on Wednesday to operate a remotely operated robot and a submarine (pictured) which are deployed from the Atalante ship

The ROV is onboard the French-flagged ship Atalante, which is owned by the Ifremer ocean research institute and is currently in the north-west Atlantic travelling at 11.6kn (13mph), according to a marine tracker. 

A second ROV that can dive down to 19,000ft, the Odysseus 6K, is owned by US-based Pelagic Research Services (PRS). Today, PRS said it had sent the vehicle to assist. An airport official told a US news website that the vehicle had landed in Newfoundland on a plane – but it is not clear if it will reach the rescue site on time. 

A third ROV that can reach the required depth, the CURV-21, has not been dispatched by its owners, the US Navy. 

Today, the US Coast Guard released a photo of the area where the sub is believed to be located showing the pipe-laying ship Deep Energy, which has joined the search. While it also has ROVs onboard they only operate at a maximum depth of 3,000 metres (9,842 feet). 

The Royal Canadian Navy’s HMCS Glace Bay, which has a six-person hyperbaric recompression chamber, is also on its way to the site but is not expected to arrive until midday tomorrow, CBC reports. 

Banging noises have been detected in the rescue area every 30 minutes by a Canadian plane with underwater sonar capabilities. This has led to fresh hope that the crew of the Titan vessel are still alive, and are deliberately making noises against the hull. 

This image shared by the US Coast Guard is the first from the search site, some 900 miles off the coast of the US. It shows Deep Energy – a pipe-laying ship that has joined the hunt
The ROV is onboard the French-flagged ship Atalante, which is owned by the Ifremer ocean research institute and is currently in the north-west Atlantic
Last known sighting: The Titan was pictured just before it embarked on the dive into the Atlantic Ocean to view the wreck of the Titanic

Who is in the rescue fleet? 

Ships known to either be on the way or already on site are: 

Polar Prince

Deep Energy

Atlantic Merlin

Skandi Vinland


Horizon Arctic

Glace Bay

John Cabot

Ann Harvey

Terry Fox

Oceanographer David Gallo said that hitting the side of the sub to try and alert rescuers was something one of those trapped inside – diver Paul-Henri Nargeolet – ‘would certainly do’. 

Speaking to CNN, he said: ‘One of the wonders I have is: did [searchers] make any signal back, acoustically, to signal to the sub that we hear their signal? Sound carries very easily through the ocean … you would hear it in the sub for sure.’ 

But former rear admiral Chris Parry warned this may be emanating from the Titanic itself, which ‘makes a lot of noise’. 

READ MORE – Scary animation shows how deep missing Titanic sub could be 

Today, John Mauger of the US coastguard – which is the leading the search – said the underwater noises are a ‘target’ of the operation but said the source of the sound is unknown. 

Joe MacInnis, a doctor and renowned diver who’s made two trips to the Titanic wreck, said those inside the sub would be trying to minimise their breathing to preserve oxygen.  

The passengers onboard Titan include British billionaire adventurer Hamish Harding and OceanGate’s chief executive and founder Stockton Rush. 

The Dawoods belong to one of Pakistan’s most prominent families. Their eponymous firm invests across the country in agriculture, industries and the health sector.

Their family, including Shahzada’s wife Christine and daughter Alina, are waiting for news of the pair.

‘We are very grateful for the concern being shown by our colleagues and friends and would like to request everyone to pray for their safety while granting the family privacy at this time,’ the statement said. 

‘The family is well looked after and are praying to Allah for the safe return of their family members.’

Shahzada Dawood also is on the board of trustees for the California-based SETI Institute that searches for extraterrestrial intelligence.

In a heartbreaking plea today, one of Mr Harding’s close friends Jannicke Mikkelsen warned ‘we are losing time’.

The panicked friend told BBC Radio 4’s Today programmer this morning: ‘I’m nervous. I’m sick to my stomach with nerves. I’m terrified, I’m anxious. I’m not sleeping at the moment. I’m just hoping for good news. Every single second, every single minute feels like hours.’

Meanwhile, above the surface of the wreck five vessels remain on standby helping the frantic search efforts – with four more from the US Coast Guard on their way including one filled with medical personnel, according to marine tracking data.

Colonel Terry Virts, another friend who dubbed Mr Harding ‘the quintessential British explorer’, also stressed that ‘the clock is ticking’ to find the five onboard.

Amongst those on board are Shahzada Dawood, his son Suleman, 19 (pictured together)
Harding (pictured) is the CEO of Action Aviation in Dubai. He excitedly posted to social media about being there on Sunday. His friends called him the ‘quintessential British explorer’ this morning
French Navy veteran PH Nargeolet is  believed to be taking part in the expedition, though it’s unclear if he is onboard the missing sub
OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush is also believed to be onboard
Banging sounds have been detected in the massive search for the missing Titanic submarine
Last night, search equipment was seen being loaded onto the Horizon Arctic to be taken to the harbour at St John’s to help with the search effort

Retired British navy rear admiral Chris Parry’ warned on LBC that hopes of finding the missing deep-sea vessel without an ’emitting signal’ will be ‘impossible’ to find in the timescale. 

Admiral Parry said: ‘I’m afraid the odds are vanishingly small. Obviously, we want to remain hopeful and optimistic but there are two problems here – one is actually finding the thing and secondly is how on earth are you going to get it off the seabed.

‘It’s never been done before and I don’t think anybody’s got any ideas about how to do it at the moment.’ 

READ MORE: How CAN Titan submarine be saved at 12,500ft? Rescue operation is unlike any ever performed, hardly any vessels can reach those depths and it’s impossible to transfer the crew to another sub

Scientist Dr Michael Guillen, who ‘almost died’ when visiting the Titanic wreck in 2000, said that the trapped crew could be using cups to bang on the side of the sub to communicate.

He told Good Morning Britain: ‘If their hydrophone failed so early in the mission, less than two hours down which means they never made it to the bottom, the very least they could take their cups and bang it on the side of the sub.

‘That’s what I would do if I were down there and I am sure that’s what the pilot will be telling everybody.

‘They have five people, they can make quite a racket by just banging on the side as sound communicates extremely well in water.’

Dr Guillen added that when he heard the news it gave him ‘great hope that perhaps their still alive’.

Another friend of the British billionaire, who pulled out of the doomed voyage after becoming concerned about the quality of the technology and materials used in the vessel, said the ‘banging sounds’ is the kind of thing his missing friend would do. 

Chris Brown, 61, who is also an explorer, told BBC Breakfast: ‘That is just the sort of thing I would have expected Hamish to come up with.’

‘There’s always hope. As an explorer, you never give up anyway,’ he added.

Scientist Dr Michael Guillen, who ‘almost died’ when visiting the Titanic wreck in 2000 told Good Morning Britain today that the crew could be using cups to bang on the side of the submarine
Retired British navy rear admiral Chris Parry slammed OceanGate claiming the submarine trip was ‘fundamentally dangerous’ and had ‘no back-up plan’
A Canadian Aircraft (file photo) heard ‘banging’ at 30-minute intervals in the area the submarine disappeared, a leaked memo suggests

The bangs heard at 30 minute intervals are likely coming from those trapped within the submarine intensely banging on the vessel’s hull so that is could be picked up by a sonar.

Sonobuoys within the ocean listen to sounds before transmitting the sonar sound energy – this most commonly referred to as a ‘ping’ that notifies the buoys at the surface. 

Five vessels located in the search area  

There are currently five vessels located in the search area above the Titanic wreck, according to marine tracking data.

There are also four more vessels listed by the US Coastguard travelling to the area, Sky reports.

Vessels currently at the wreck site are the Polar Prince, Deep Energy, Atlantic merlin, Skandi Vinland and CGS Cabot.

Those described as ‘en route’ include Canadian CGS Ann Harvey, Canadian CGS Terry Fox, Motor Vessel Horizon Arctic, and French Research L’Atalante. 

Rear Admiral John Mauger, who is helping coordinate the search, said yesterday the submarine it could be stuck.

‘We don’t have equipment onsite that can do a survey of the bottom,’ he said.

‘There is a lot of debris, so locating it will be difficult. Right now, we’re focused on trying to locate it.’

Titan stopped transmitting signals on Sunday. It is supposed to send a sonar ‘ping’ (radar and GPS not functioning underwater) to mothership Polar Prince every 15 minutes, but the last one was at 9.45am on Sunday – an hour and 45 minutes into the dive as it was floating right above the Titanic.

Speaking of the conditions in the depths of the ocean, Admiral Parry added: ‘It’s utterly dark down there, and you have also got a lot of mud and other stuff getting swept up. You can only see about 20 feet in front of you with searchlights. There are very strong ocean currents which are pushing you along.’

Colonel Virts, a former commander of the International Space Station, told the Today programme he believes if the group ‘can be rescued they will be because of the amount of effort being put in’.

He added: ‘There in a tough situation and the clock is ticking. According to the company and submarines spec, by Thursday they will be out of oxygen.

‘So hopefully we get them up soon as the clock is ticking.’ 

‘The water is very deep – two miles plus. It’s like a visit to another planet. It is a sunless, cold environment and high pressure.’

Last night, search equipment was seen being loaded onto the Horizon Arctic to help with the frantic search, hours after the Canadian aircraft first detected the noises.

The bangs within the ocean were occurring at 30-minute intervals, in the area where the capsule vanished. It was first noted in an email exchange with the US Department of Homeland security – seen by Rolling Stone – but was later confirmed Coast Guard officials.

Cargo being loaded onto the Horizon Arctic so it can be taken to the harbous in St John’s and help with the search efforts
The frantic search comes as the submarine is expected to havejust a few hours left of oxygen. Pictured: Equipment arriving at St John’s airport

How does the sonar that identified the banging noises work?

Banging noises have been detected every 30 minutes by a Canadian plane with underwater sonar capabilities.

This has led to fresh hope that the crew of the Titan vessel are still alive, and are deliberately making noises against the hull.

But what is sonar, how does it work and what does this mean for the rescue mission?

What has happened?

As the aircraft flew over the search area it dropped devices called sonobuoys – an important tool for underwater searches.

Once dropped, they descend to the required depth and maintain communication with the aircraft above.

The buoys were initially developed during WWII to detect German U-boats, but are now used for a variety of purposes including in search and rescue operations.

They can map the location of an airplane crash site, a sunken ship or survivors at sea.

How does it work?

Sonar works in two different ways: active and passive detection.

Active detection involves bouncing a ‘ping’ into the surrounding area and listening for the returning echo.

Passive detection involves listening for sounds produced by propellers and machinery.

Which is being used here?

Search teams will mostly be using passive detection – picking up noises that are hoped to be the crew banging against the hull of the submersible.

Active detection is much more difficult around the Titanic wreck, as it would be incredibly difficult to distinguish between the submersible and the surrounding debris.

Can the submersible now be located?

Unfortunately, three buoys would need to pick up the sound so that experts could ‘triangulate’ the position of the sub.

Triangulation – commonly used by geologists to find the locations of Earthquakes – allows for a more precise location to be determined by using angles.

How hopeful can we be about these noises?

Dr Jamie Pringle, Reader in Forensic Geosciences at Keele University, said: ‘The fact they are 30 minutes apart is a great sign.

‘It is unlikely to be from another submarine, which typically only go down to 900m, or a surface ship propellor which would make a continuous noise – so this sound is likely manmade.

‘Acoustic noise travels far in water – for example whale sounds – so that is both good and bad news.

‘You would still need three static buoys to be able to triangulate the sound to get a position fix.

‘I should also add a caveat that the sound could, of course, be coming from something other than the sub, let’s not give people false hope here.

‘The lack of oxygen is key now – even if they find it, still need to get to the surface and unbolt it.’

They said underwater noises were heard by a plane and operations were ‘relocated’ to determine the origin. As of early Wednesday, they have ‘yielded negative results’.

The memo, while did not reveal the timing or cause of the noises, read: ‘CC Halifax launched a P8, Poseidon, which has underwater detection capabilities from the air,’ the DHS memo read, ‘reported a contact in a position close to the distress position. 

‘The P8 heard banging sounds in the area every 30 minutes. Four hours later additional sonar was deployed and banging was still heard.’

Rescue crews will now analyse the data further to help form a search plan into the deep Atlantic Ocean. 

As the search continues, OceanGate has continued to come under fire, with Admiral Parry slamming the company this morning claiming the submarine trip was ‘fundamentally dangerous’ and had ‘no back-up plan’. 

‘Why on earth you would go in a dodgy piece of technology where you actually have to sign away any right to sue the company for emotional damage, injury or death is beyond me’, he added.

‘It is fundamentally dangerous, there was no back-up plan, it’s experimental and I’m afraid to say there’s an element of hubris if you want to go down and do that.’ 

But a businessman who has previously made the deep-sea voyage to the wreck of the Titanic said he had confidence in the crews, adding ‘there’s a very good chance they will be found.’

Oisin Fanning told the BBC: ‘The two guys on the sub currently, so Paul and Stockton, are both consummate professionals.

‘I mean, to be honest, if I was in trouble, I’d want to be on a sub with them.’ 

Richard Garriot de Cayeux, President of The Explorers Club, confirmed in a Tuesday night social media post that ‘there is cause for hope.’

He said in a statement: ‘We have much greater confidence that 1) There is cause for hope, based on data from the field – we understand that likely signs of life have been detected at the site.’ 

Garriot de Cayeux added The Explorers Club are confident the U.S. Coast Guard ‘precisely understand the experienced personnel and tech we can deeply’ and ‘believe they are doing everything possible with all resources they have’.

One of the five men on the ship, Harding, is a founding member of the Board of Trustees for the Explorers Club. 

The group said they have a direct lines to Congress, The Coast Guard, Air Force and Nave and the White House. 

A DHS announcement also stated that ‘the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre is working to find an underwater remote-operated vehicle through partner organizations to possibly assist.’ 

A massive search operation remains underway to find the missing OceanGate submersible, the Titan, after it lost contact with the mothership during its descent to the shipwreck Sunday morning. 

If the mini-sub lost power, with no working propellers, lights or heating, its five passengers will be in total darkness in temperatures of around 3C (37F) as the doomed craft rolls along the seabed.

Oceanographer and Titanic expert David Gallo said: ‘Where is it? Is it on the bottom, is it floating, is it mid-water? That is something that has not been determined yet. 

‘The water is very deep – two miles plus. It’s like a visit to another planet. It is a sunless, cold environment and high pressure.’

For some reason, OceanGate Expeditions, the company that runs the tours of the Titanic, took eight hours to call the coastguard Sunday. It was reported to the US Coastguard at 5.40pm, and Canada’s Coastguard was alerted even later, at 9.13pm.

The vessel’s oxygen supply was estimated at 96 hours, which gives rescue teams until Thursday morning to find the vessel.

The missing OceanGate submersible, the Titan, lost contact with the mothership during its descent to the shipwreck Sunday morning
The 21ft submersible has an oxygen supply of up to 96 hours but it is thought the crew of five have less than 24 hours of breathable air left
The US Coast Guard is coordinating the enormous search for the missing OceanGate vessel
The search site is some 900 miles off the coast of Cape Cod, 400 miles southeast of  Newfoundland, Canada. Getting there is a difficult enough feat without finding the missing sub beneath the ocean surface

As families wait in agony for news, OceanGate, who started dives to the Titanic in 2021, is facing questions after it emerged the Titan suffered electrical damage and had to be rebuilt for not being able to withstand the ocean before it vanished.

The tourist company responsible for the missing submersible also took eight hours to report it to the Coast Guard after it lost contact an hour and 45 minutes into its descent on Sunday, the DailyMail.com revealed yesterday.

By yesterday, a fleet of US and Canadian rescue ships and aircraft had swarmed to the scene, along with a growing number of private vessels.

Speaking at search headquarters in Boston, Captain Jamie Frederick of the US Coastguard announced: ‘Those search efforts have not yielded any results.’ 

But last night some of the commercial vessels with specialist underwater drones were sending them down. Frederick offered his ‘most heartfelt thoughts and prayers’ to the lost crew and their loved ones, and pledged they were doing ‘everything possible’. But he admitted the rescuers were entering the final hours.

‘Passengers have to sign a waiver which mentions DEATH three times’

A former Titan passenger has revealed how adventurers have to sign a waiver warning them of deadly risks before embarking on the submarine.

Mike Reiss, a New York-based writer who travelled on the Titan to the Titanic wreckage last year, said that communication failures were commonplace.

He told the BBC: ‘I have taken three different dives with this company, one at the Titanic and two others and you almost always lost communication.’ He added: ‘Nobody walked into this with any illusions. You sign a waiver before you even get on the boat. It mentions death, and three different ways you can die, on page one.

‘If, in the worst case, they are down at the bottom of the ocean, I can’t see how anyone can get to them, much less rescue them.’

When he was asked ‘Even with that amount of time left, if you were to find the submersible at this moment, would that give you enough time to save those five people on board?’ he replied: ‘I don’t know the answer to that question. All I know is we will do everything within our power to effect a rescue.’

The Titanic wreckage lies at 12,500ft, and Titan was one of the only craft in the world capable of reaching it. Even nuclear submarines cannot safely go that deep. Deep water dive specialists are assisting coastguards in the ‘unique and challenging’ operation, said Frederick.

Standing on a dockside, he told reporters: ‘Getting salvage equipment on scene is a top priority. It is very heavy equipment, it is very complex, but the best experts are on scene. If the sub is located, the experts will look at the best course of action for recovering the sub.’

Among the equipment is a decompression chamber for the five passengers should they be brought to the surface.

Mr Brown, also a thrill seeker who intended to join Harding on the missing Titanic sub pulled out of the dive because he thought OceanGate was ‘cutting too many corners’, it has emerged.

He paid the deposit to go on the doomed voyage but said he changed his mind after becoming concerned by the quality of technology and materials used in the vessel, The Sun reported Tuesday night. 

Among his concerns were OceanGate’s use of ‘old scaffolding poles’ for the ballast and the fact that its controls were ‘based on computer game-style controllers’.

He told the newspaper that despite being ‘one of the first people to sign up for this trip’, he ultimately decided the ‘risks were too high’.

Brown added he felt ‘really upset about Hamish’, who is among the five passengers on the submersible, called the Titan, that are currently missing.

Harding had posted about going on the trip before the Titan was put in the water and later lost contact with the surface

Brown and Harding signed up for the voyage after sharing a ‘few beers’ while holidaying on Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island.

The pair paid the 10 percent deposit for the trip, which has since more than doubled in price, while the Titan was still being developed, he claimed.

But Brown alleged that in the years that followed, he learned OceanGate had ‘missed key targets’ when depth-testing the submersible.

The multi-millionaire digital marketing tycoon found it concerning that the vessel was controlled by a modified Playstation controller.

He also is understood to have been worried by the technical issues and delays throughout the development process.

He told The Sun: ‘I found out they used old scaffolding poles for the sub’s ballast.

‘If you’re trying to build your own submarine you could probably use old scaffold poles. But this was a commercial craft.’

Brown, who said he is ‘not one to shy away from risk’, eventually emailed OceanGate and asked for a refund.

He is worried for his friend but said Harding is not the panicking type. He believes the billionaire is likely keeping ‘extremely calm’ and ‘processing plans, schemes and ideas through his enormous brain’.

Brown said Harding will be ‘giving hope’ to the other passengers.

The Titan vessel will have a carbon dioxide scrubber on board to remove excess toxic gas that builds up when passengers exhale in the confined space, but in most craft it has a limited capacity. There is also a risk of hypothermia due to the low temperatures in the depths of the ocean, as well as hyperventilation induced by panic attacks, which can use up more valuable oxygen
The Titan vessel that is still missing will have a carbon dioxide scrubber on board to remove excess toxic gas that builds up when passengers exhale in the confined space, but in most craft this will have a limited capacity

A US Navy veteran warned of the chilling health effects of being trapped in a submarine just weeks before the Titanic tourism sub went missing, DailyMail.com can reveal.

In a scientific paper published in a medical journal last month, Dr. Dale Molé, the former director of undersea medicine and radiation health for the US Navy, detailed the ‘hostile’ environment onboard commercial submersibles, with passengers facing depleting oxygen supplies, toxic carbon dioxide levels and plummeting temperatures.

The Titan vessel that is still missing will have a carbon dioxide scrubber on board to remove excess toxic gas that builds up when passengers exhale in the confined space, but in most craft, those have a limited capacity.

A scrubbing system removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, making the air safe to breathe. 

Speaking to DailyMail.com Tuesday, Molé said it is ‘very much’ a race against time to rescue the passengers, if they are not already dead from a ‘catastrophic rupture of the pressure vessel.’

He added: ‘Anytime humans are confined in an airtight space, most people may think of oxygen, but carbon dioxide is actually a bigger concern.

‘In a submersible, they’ll have some system of scrubbing carbon dioxide. If they lost battery power, then that system would no longer work.’

There is also a risk of hypothermia due to the low temperatures in the depths of the ocean, as well as hyperventilation induced by panic attacks, which can use up more valuable oxygen. 

Cargo being loaded onto the Horizon Arctic at the harbour in St John’s, bound for the search area
Marc Hagle, 74, and his wife Sharon, 73, went to space on Blue Origin’s fourth trip, in March 2022. They intended to visit the Titanic wreck with OceanGate, and paid in 2017, but sued in February this year for fraud

It has also emerged that a Florida couple sued the Rush, CEO of the Titanic tourism company OceanGate Expeditions, accusing him of misleading them about their trip to visit the wreck and refusing to refund their $210,258 when they complained.

Marc and Sharon Hagle, who made their fortune in commercial real estate, are well known for their philanthropy and their adventurous spirit. In March 2022, they were on the fourth Blue Origin passenger space flight and became the first married couple to become space tourists.

In 2016, while on a trip to the South Pole, they decided their next adventure would be underwater. In 2017 they were announced as among the first customers for OceanGate, which was founded in 2009 by Seattle-born aviator and businessman Stockton Rush, now 61.

But they never got to take their trip, and in February this year sued Rush, accusing him of selling the adventure knowing it was not on schedule, and refusing to refund their cash. 

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