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Tuesday marked a race against time for rescue teams from the United States and Canada as they endeavored to locate a submersible carrying five individuals bound for the wreckage site of the Titanic. The submarine had disappeared in the North Atlantic Ocean two days prior.

Taking charge of the operation, the U.S. Coast Guard provided an update on Tuesday morning, revealing that search crews had scoured an area of approximately 10,000 square miles in their quest for the missing submersible. A Canadian maritime patrol aircraft had also joined the effort, conducting sonar searches, as stated by the Coast Guard.

The submersible, named Titan and constructed from carbon-fiber, had set out on its voyage at around 6 a.m. on Sunday. According to David Concannon, an advisor to OceanGate Expeditions, the deep-sea exploration company that owned the vessel, the Titan was equipped with a 96-hour oxygen supply.

Onboard the submersible were a pilot, a renowned British adventurer, two members of an iconic Pakistani business family, and a Titanic expert. The vessel was reported overdue on Sunday night, situated approximately 435 miles south of St. John’s, Newfoundland, as confirmed by Canada’s Joint Rescue Coordination Center.

The Canadian research icebreaker Polar Prince, which was providing support to the Titan, reportedly lost contact with the submersible roughly one hour and 45 minutes after it submerged.

Rear Admiral John Mauger, a commander in the U.S. Coast Guard leading the search for the Titan, acknowledged the challenges of conducting a search in such a remote area. He also mentioned that the submersible had a 96-hour emergency sustainment capability, including oxygen and fuel. Mauger estimated that between 70 and the full 96 hours of resources were available at that point.

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During an interview on NBC’s “Today” show on Tuesday, Mauger stated that his crews were prioritizing underwater search efforts and mobilizing equipment. Experts interviewed by The Associated Press acknowledged the difficulties involved.

Alistair Greig, a professor of marine engineering at University College London, explained that submersibles typically possess a drop weight—a mass that can be released in case of an emergency to help them ascend to the surface using buoyancy. He mentioned that a power failure would result in the vessel remaining afloat on the surface.

Greig also raised the possibility of a leak in the pressure hull, emphasizing that if the submersible had sunk to the seabed and couldn’t resurface under its own power, options for retrieval were severely limited. While the submersible might still be intact, he noted that if it had gone beyond the continental shelf, very few vessels, if any, possessed the capability to reach such depths, ruling out the involvement of divers.

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