A Canadian aircraft searching for OceanGate’s Titan vessel containing five men, including British billionaire Hamish Harding, is reported to have detected banging every 30 minutes coming from the area where it disappeared.
In a statement on Twitter, the US Coast Guard said: “Canadian P-3 aircraft detected underwater noises in the search area. As a result, ROV operations were relocated in an attempt to explore the origin of the noises. Those ROV searches have yielded negative results but continue.
“Additionally, the data from the P-3 aircraft has been shared with our U.S. Navy experts for further analysis which will be considered in future search plans.”
“Banging sounds” were initially noted in internal email updates sent to the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which Rolling Stone claims to have seen. Rescuers are in a race against time to find the missing sub, which is believed to have around 30 hours of oxygen remaining.
The P8 Poseidon plane, which the emails say has underwater detection capabilities from the air, is said to have deployed sonobuoys which reported a contact near 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,” an email reportedly reads.
It is unclear what time the alleged banging was heard or what was believed to be causing it. The DHS also announced that “the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre is working to find an underwater remote-operated vehicle through partner organizations to possibly assist”.
- Titan is a five-person submersible made by private company OceanGate.
- It can descend to up to 4,000 metres (2.5 miles or 13,123 feet) and travels at a speed of three knots (3.5mph)
- It is steered using an adapted video game controller
- Titan is made from carbon fibre and titanium and weighs 23,000lbs and designed to carry 96 hours of oxygen
- Typically, the vessel spends 10-11 hours underwater each dive
- It has limited power reserves and needs to be launched and recovered by a support ship
- There are no seats, one toilet and no windows – just a porthole
- The submersible is bolted from the outside before diving with 17 bolts
- The Titan has no GPS and is guided by text messages from the surface ship
- The vessel lost communications previously for two hours while on a dive with journalist David Pogue
Meanwhile, the president of The Explorers Club Richard Garriot de Cayeux said “likely signs of life” were believed to have been detected in the area where the sub went missing.
In a statement posted to social media on Tuesday evening, he said: “There is cause for hope, that based on data from the field, we understand that likely signs of life have been detected at the site.
“They precisely understand the experienced personnel and tech we can help deploy… We believe they are doing everything possible with all the resources they have.”
Mr Garriot de Cayeux said they are ready to provide the UK-based Magellan’s remotely operated vehicle (ROV) that is certified to travel as deep as 6,000 metres.
Mr Harding is reportedly joined on the sub by French explorer Paul-Henri Nargeolet, OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush and Shahzada Dawood, 48, a UK-based board member of the Prince’s Trust charity, and his 19-year-old son Sulaiman Dawood.