Titanic sub hunt still ‘search and rescue operation’ US coastguards insist despite oxygen supply running out
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Despite the US Coast Guard’s estimation that the air supply in the missing Titan submersible would run out at 12.08 pm, the head of the search operation emphasized that it is still an active search and rescue mission. Rear Admiral John Mauger expressed continued concern for the crew members and their families, affirming the ongoing efforts to locate and rescue them. He noted that the current conditions for the search and rescue operation are favorable.

Multiple countries have deployed ships, planes, and underwater craft to search for the missing submersible in a remote area of the Atlantic Ocean, covering an expanse more than twice the size of the US state of Connecticut. The search takes place in waters as deep as 4,020 meters (13,200 feet).

Presently, there are two remote-operated vehicles (ROVs) capable of operating on the sea floor. These ROVs are equipped with cameras and sonar capabilities, aiding in the search efforts. One of the ROVs, deployed by the Canadian vessel Horizon Arctic, has reached the sea floor and commenced its search for the missing sub. Additionally, the French ship L’Atalante considered the best hope of finding the submersible, has deployed its remote-controlled sub called Victor 6000. This advanced sub can reach depths of 20,000 feet and is expected to arrive at the Titanic’s wreck site within the next two hours.

Victor 6000 possesses arms that can cut cables or dislodge a trapped or stranded vessel. It may attempt to fix a cable onto the submersible before it is hauled to the surface by a giant winch known as the Flyaway Deep Ocean Salvage System on Horizon Arctic, which consists of over three miles of cable.

The submersible Titan, carrying five passengers including British billionaire Hamish Harding, French explorer Paul-Henri Nargeolet, UK-based Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood, his 19-year-old son Suleman Dawood, and OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, disappeared while venturing to the wreck of the Titanic. The submersible vanished approximately 400 miles off the coast of Newfoundland, submerged at a depth of 12,000 feet.

Concerns have arisen as the submersible was estimated to have 96 hours of oxygen, and the search and rescue operation has entered a critical phase as the life support supplies dwindle. However, Guillermo Sohnlein, the co-founder of OceanGate, expressed optimism that the crew members may have been conserving energy and could potentially survive beyond the Coast Guard’s oxygen supply estimates.

As time passes and oxygen levels in the submersible decrease, carbon dioxide levels rise due to the passengers exhaling. This increase in carbon dioxide can lead to asphyxiation or hypercapnia, a condition where an excessive amount of gas is present in the bloodstream. Dr. Ken Ledez, a hyperbaric medicine expert, explained that as carbon dioxide levels build up, it acts as a sedative and can induce sleep. If the carbon dioxide in someone’s blood exceeds 10%, the individual is likely to die rapidly. People can survive for approximately 15 minutes without oxygen, but they lose consciousness well before that, and brain damage can occur within minutes without air.

The ongoing rescue operation has not been called off, and the French ship L’Atalante is utilizing the Victor 6000 to assist in the search. The submersible, however, has yet to be located, and the hope that banging noises could lead rescuers to the vessel has not yielded any results so far.

Source: with agencies

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