The families of a missing five-person tourist crew are hoping for a miracle as the US Coast Guard continues its frantic search for a submersible that went missing yesterday. Onboard is British billionaire, Hamish Harding, who had been eagerly awaiting his voyage to the Titanic wreckage.
The 2023 expedition, organized by OceanGate Expeditions, had only just begun when the crew onboard the submersible, Titan, lost communication with the mothership, putting their lives at risk.
The subs, which cost a rumored $250,000 per person for an 8-day excursion, have no way of directing themselves underwater and rely on a text message from the mothership for guidance.
'We are exploring and mobilizing all options to bring the crew back safely,' OceanGate said, although Rear Admiral John W. Mauger expressed his concern at a press conference on Monday.
'It's very worrying. It could have become entangled in the wreckage of Titanic, we don't know yet" he said. 'The wreck site is a long way from anywhere. The only hope one has is that the mothership will have a standby craft that can investigate immediately what is going on.'
The search has been hampered by the remote location of the wreckage, which is 370 miles from Newfoundland in Canada but is in US waters, and admission from Mauger that the Coast Guard lacks the capabilities to reach it.
Former Rear Admiral Chris Parry was similarly pessimistic, saying 'It's a remote area and it is challenge to conduct a search in that area.'
Despite the risks, they had ventured out, stock full of optimism, including from Harding who had posted on social media about being there. The adventurer, who has three Guinness World Records, had set out to be part of ocean history, taking with him to the depths the oldest man - moon landing astronaut Buzz Aldrin - and the youngest, his 12-year-old son, to the South Pole.
Unfortunately, it doesn't take a brave adventure to become statistics; Harding might yet be standing alongside the 1,500 victims of the Titanic if the submersible isn't located soon. The search is being assisted by C-130s and P-8s, boats from the Canadian Coastguard, and reinforcements that are now on their way.
Naval experts say the wreckage is in such a position that it will be a 'difficult' recovery mission, and an OceanGate survey from last year reported that holes had opened up in the decks, walls had crumpled, and that rust was spreading all over the ship.
The 'Titaniacs', a group of Titanic enthusiasts, have gone quiet, unable or unwilling to come to terms with the possibility that the beloved Titanic might have claimed another victim. The USS Coast Guard search has so far been fruitless, and all that remains to be seen is if the miracle for which the families are praying for comes to pass.
They can only hope that after a lifetime of achievements, British billionaire Hamish Harding will be able to live to tell the tale of this harrowing expedition.