Titanic sub: British billionaire Hamish Harding named among five missing on OceanGate expedition
Rescuers have now ramped up their search as it is thought that the vessel only carries 96 hours of “life support” on board.
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A British millionaire has been named among those missing on a submersible craft which set out on a tour to explore the Titanic wreck on Sunday (June 18). Rescuers have now ramped up their search as it is thought that the vessel only carries 96 hours of “life support” on board.
The 21-foot vessel, which began its dive towards the Titanic wreck on June 18 lost contact with the research vessel Polar Prince an hour and 45 minutes into the dive. It has been confirmed that British billionaire Hamish Harding is one of those missing onboard.
Mr Harding’s stepson Brian Szasz, said on Facebook: "Thoughts and prayers for my stepfather Hamish Harding as his Submarine has gone missing exploring Titanic. Search and rescue mission is underway."
Meanwhile, Action Aviation, an aviation sales and operations company which Mr Harding is chairman of, said on Twitter on Sunday, that the billionaire was part of the Titanic expedition.
The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FDCO) said: "We are in contact with the family of a British man following reports of a missing submarine off the coast of North America."
OceanGate Expeditions, the company that deploys vessels for deep sea expeditions, said one of its submersibles had gone missing in the Atlantic Ocean and that a search is ongoing. The US Coast Guard said the search for the sub is taking place approximately 900 miles east off Cape Cod but has been “challenging.”
Rear Admiral John Mauger, commander of the First Coast Guard District, said: "It is a remote area and it is a challenge to conduct a search in that area" but added: "We’re deploying all available assets."
The search so far has consisted of both looking at the surface and subsurface. But speaking to Sky News, a marine operations specialist spoke of the difficulties in the search operation adding that "very specialised underwater vehicles" which are not “readily available” would be needed to go to the depths of where the wreck is.
Mike Welham told Sky News: "The biggest problem they’ve got is the depth of water at the Titanic site.
"It’s about 3,800m and you need very specialised underwater vehicles to go down to that depth and they’re not really readily available. So they have a major problem if they have to search and recover this vehicle."
It is believed that two others on board the vessel, named Titan, are French submersible pilot Paul-Henry Nargeolet, and chief executive and founder of OceanGate Expeditions Stockton Rush. Tourists on board the vessel could have paid up to £195,270 per person for a place on OceanGate’s eight-day expedition.
OceanGate said in a statement that it was "exploring and mobilising all options" to bring the crew back safely.