Stricken Titan submarine will run out of oxygen at 12:08pm UK time: Coastguard makes stark prediction as officials insist hunt for five-man crew is ‘100% a search and RESCUE’ mission but craft has NOT been found leaving situation increasingly desperate
- READ MORE: Titanic tourist submarine missing LIVE: ‘This is still a search and rescue mission’, says US Coast Guard as flotilla converges on Titanic wreck site
The world waits for news as the window of survival for the five passengers onboard the Titan sub is rapidly closing, with the oxygen supply due to run out at 7.08am ET (12.08pm UK time) today, the US Coastguard has projected.
The announcement has painted a bleak picture for those trapped inside the stranded vessel, but officials have continued to insist that the hunt is ‘100 per cent’ still a search and rescue mission.
The Titan, a tourist submersible which runs $250,000 tours of the doomed Titanic ship and is operated by OceanGate Expeditions, has been underwater since 8am on Sunday with five people on board.
The group, dubbed the Titan Five, includes British billionaire Hamish Harding, OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, French navy veteran PH Nargeolet and Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman.
After embarking on its 12,500ft descent, the sub lost contact with its expedition ship, the Polar Prince, at 9.45am but was not reported as missing to the Coast Guard until 5.40pm.
A ten-hour countdown has now begun, with the vital oxygen supply expected to run out at 7.08am US eastern time (11.08am GMT, 12.08pm UK, 9.08pm Sydney), a US Coastguard spokeswoman has said.
Hopes of finding Titan are now fading, hours after those leading the rescue said they will ‘hold on hope until the very end’, but admitted that they would at some point need to ‘make a tough decision’.
The Titan, a tourist submersible which runs $250,000 tours of the doomed Titanic ship and is operated by OceanGate Expeditions, has been underwater since 8am on Sunday with five people on board
Five people are onboard, including British billionaire adventurer Hamish Harding
Shahzada Dawood and his 19-year-old son Suleman are also on board, along with British billionaire Hamish Harding
French Navy veteran PH Nargeolet (left) is believed to be taking part in the expedition, along with Stockton Rush (right), CEO of the OceanGate Expedition
Rescuers including the USCG, British Navy and French and Canadian teams are picking up the pace ahead of as the window of rescue narrows.
They face a battle against time, and with less than twelve hours left of oxygen on the vessel, experts have said those inside will be trying to minimise their breathing to preserve the remaining supplies.
Rescuers are refusing to give up hope, US Coastguard Captain Jamie Frederick insisted on Wednesday, even as people around the world count down the hours until oxygen is expected to run out on the vessel.
‘We have to remain optimistic and hopeful when we are in a search and rescue case.
The 21ft submersible has an oxygen supply of up to 96 hours
Victor 6000 is connected to the ship by an electromechanical cable which is 26,250ft long and supplies 20 kW of power
Victor 6000 is a French unmanned ROV that is deployed by the L’Atalante ship and can reach depths of 20,000ft
The pilot of a Royal Canadian Air Force CP-140 Aurora maritime surveillance aircraft of 14 Wing flies a search pattern for the missing OceanGate submersible
‘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.’
According to OceanGate, Titan’s operator, the sub has a 96-hour oxygen supply in case of emergencies.
READ MORE: Mission impossible? International rescue team of ultra high-tech submersibles, jets and ships search for Titanic Five
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.
The only possible trace of the vessel which is continuing to be investigated was underwater ‘banging’ sounds, which were detected yesterday in the search for the missing Titanic submersible.
But, the US Navy experts analysing the sounds said they cannot yet conclude whether they are coming from the stranded vessel, and ROVs were continuing to return negative results from under the sea.
As time runs out, more equipment is expected to arrive as late as Thursday morning, including more remote operated vehicles (ROV) to detect noise as planes continue to scour the ocean from above.
Private groups who had offered their help to the rescue mission as early as Monday were allegedly not authorised to help until Wednesday night, sources also told MailOnline.
Rescuers are now embarking on a last-ditch attempt to find the tiny vessel in a huge expanse of water, with the search area expanded to around 14,000 square miles – twice the size of the state of Connecticut.
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
Hopes of finding the sub have been pinned on the Victor 6000, which was rushed to the search area overnight and can reach depths of 20,000ft.
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.
The time pressure is compounded by the fact that the underwater vehicles may be able to pinpoint Titan, which was headed for the Titanic wreckage 12,500ft below the surface, but it will take additional specialized tools for the mammoth task of bringing it up.
Hopes of a recovery were raised slightly on Wednesday when a Canadian P-3 aircraft equipped with sonar detected the periodic ‘banging’ sound.
The Coast Guard chief who’s coordinating the search said that sounds were initially heard overnight and more were detected today.
The P-3 is one of several models of aircraft which are also helping the search by scouring the ocean surface and using sonar equipment for signs of activity on the seabed.
A range of military and commercial vessels is also at the site, offering a mixture of search capabilities, communications tools and rescue equipment if Titan is found.
Ultimately, it is down to the submersibles to get eyes on Titan if it remains on the seabed – or trapped within the Titanic’s wreckage.
Sean Leet, co-founder of Horizon Maritime Services, the company which owns Titan’s mothership Polar Prince, said on Wednesday that he has never seen advanced search ‘equipment of that nature move that quickly’.
The family of the missing Titan sub tourists, Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his 19-year-old son Suleman, gathered above the water on Wednesday where the vessel was last seen.
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.
Sulaiman Dawood, 19, who is missing on board the sub is pictured with his mother Christine
Among those taking part in the expedition is billionaire Hamish Harding (pictured), CEO of Action Aviation in Dubai. He excitedly posted to social media about being there on Sunday
At a press conference at the US Coast Guard Station in Boston – which is coordinating the search and rescue effort – First District Response Coordinator Capt. Jamie Frederick said it was not certain the sub could be saved
‘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.’
‘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.’
In a heartbreaking plea today, one of Mr Harding’s close friends Jannicke Mikkelsen warned ‘we are losing time’
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.
The passengers onboard Titan include British billionaire adventurer Hamish Harding and OceanGate’s chief executive and founder Stockton Rush.
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 programme yesterday: ‘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.’
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