With Titan's Time Running Out, More Equipment Arrives

Experts say there could still be hope as critical deadline arrives
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 22, 2023 6:40 AM CDT
With Titan's Time Running Out, More Equipment Arrives
US Coast Guard Capt. Jamie Frederick, left, faces reporters as Paul Hankins, US Navy civilian contractor, supervisor of salvage, right, looks on during a news conference, Wednesday, June 21, 2023, at Coast Guard Base Boston, in Boston.   (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

More ships have joined the search for the missing Titan submersible but the outlook for the five people on board is bleak: The vessel had an estimated 96-hour supply of air when it began its dive to the wreckage of the Titanic on Sunday morning, meaning the supply could run out between 6am and 8am Eastern on Thursday, according to information provided by the Coast Guard, the AP reports. Experts say, however, that the estimate is imprecise and if the passengers survived whatever caused the sub to lose contact with the surface, they will have taken steps to conserve air. Coast Guard officials said Wednesday that they are investigating banging noises detected by Canadian aircraft and they remain optimistic.

  • Oil exec Oisin Fanning, who went to the wreckage on the Titan last year, tells the New York Times that he believes the oxygen supply could last longer. "They’ll be monitoring their breathing and keep it as tight as possible," he says. He made the journey with OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush and Titanic expert Paul-Henry Nargeolet, a former commander in the French navy, who are both on the missing vessel.

  • Hyperbaric medicine expert Ken Ledez tells the BBC that at this stage, running out of oxygen isn't the only danger for the Titan passengers. He says that if the sub has lost power, it will be impossible to control oxygen and carbon dioxide levels. "As levels of carbon dioxide build up, then it becomes sedative, it becomes like an anesthetic gas, and you will go to sleep," he says. Former Royal Navy submarine captain Ryan Ramsey says he can't see any sign of a carbon dioxide removal system in videos of the vessel's interior. Another danger is hypothermia.
  • Even if the sub is found, there will be the problem of getting it to the surface, though the US Coast Guard said Wednesday that it is sending a salvage system capable of lifting "large, bulky and heavy undersea objects such as aircraft or small vessels." Other equipment now involved in the search includes Victor 6000, a French remotely operated vehicle capable of diving deeper than anything else at the site, the Guardian reports. Its operators say that while it could not lift the Titan on its own, the ROV has arms that could cut cables to release a stuck vessel.
  • The Daily Beast reports that scores of former Titan passengers have described terrifying journeys, nearly all of them involving some kind of electrical or communication problem with the experimental vessel. German adventurer Arthur Loibl described it as a "kamikaze operation" that he was "lucky to survive." He said he made it to the wreckage after two failed attempts, though he had to sit cross-legged the entire time in near-freezing temperatures.
(Read more Titanic stories.)

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