A tourist submarine has disappeared in the North Atlantic Ocean while it was diving to view the wreck of the RMS Titanic. The Boston Coast Guard said a search and rescue mission was underway Monday morning.
A coastguard spokesman confirmed to the Guardian that “a small submarine with five people on board has disappeared near the wreck of the Titanic”. The news was first reported by the BBC.
The submarine is operated by OceanGate Expeditions, a company that offers visits to the wreck that lies on the ocean floor in 12,500 feet of water about 370 miles off the coast of Newfoundland.
The Titanic, a British passenger liner marketed as “unsinkable”, sank on its maiden voyage, from Britain to the United States, in April 1912, on a route from Britain to the United States after being trapped by an iceberg.
The disaster claimed the lives of 1,514 of the 2,224 passengers and crew and remains the most infamous of all civil marine disasters. The wreck of the luxury ship was not found until more than seven decades later.
OceanGate started taking small crews of “citizen scientists” in a five-person subvan two years ago at a cost of $125,000 per person.
According to the company’s website, Oceangate was planning an eight-day, seven-night expedition to the wreck from June 12-20. A maximum of six visitors were scheduled to depart and return to St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada.
A British citizen who was due to take part in the most recent expedition, indicated on social media that since Newfoundland’s winter was the worst in decades, this year’s only manned flight to the wreck is expected, after a correction from relatively good weather. The Guardian is not naming the person until more details are confirmed.
Oceangate markets its dives to the public as follows: “Follow in the footsteps of Jacques Cousteau and become an underwater explorer – from diving to the wreck of the RMS Titanic. This is your chance to get out of the ordinary and discover something truly extraordinary.”
“Be one of the few to see the Titanic with your own eyes,” the site says, adding: “Not only will your dive provide an exciting and unique travel experience, but it will also help the scientific community learn more about the wreckage and the deep ocean environment. Every dive has a scientific objective and you can Learn more about the research we support here.
The cost includes one underwater dive, private accommodations, all required training, expedition equipment, and all meals while on board, the company said.
Since 2021, Bahamas-based OceanGate Expeditions has flown about 60 paying agents and 15-20 researchers to the site.
“We got down to business and this was the idea of researchers and wealthy people,” OceanGate founder Stockton Rush told the Guardian earlier this year. “Is there a way to match these people who want an adventurous travel experience with researchers who need funding and branching out?”
Rush said the company envisions a frontline role for the shipwreck in demystifying one of the least understood environments on the planet. “We spend 1,000 times as much on space exploration as we do on ocean exploration in the United States,” he said. “How the ocean responds to climate change will dictate everything. We need to understand that.”
Over the course of the cruise, each guest is given at least one opportunity to spend a day exploring the wreckage site from the submarine, Fromers reported in 2020.
Rush told the publication that about half of his clients are obsessed with Titanic, while others are fans of the ocean depths.
He told the newspaper: “In the vacuum of space, by definition there is nothing. But there is more undiscovered life in the ocean than we have discovered on the surface of the planet.”
Customers are shown “rare, close-up views, through a round window and high-tech cameras, of the sunken ship, the hundreds of marine species that now live on the hull, and the wreck field strewn with TitanicAccording to the report.
Rush told Frommers, “One of the questions that archaeologists have asked is, ‘What did a person in the Third Class wear underwear for? We know the stuff of the rich, but the life of the common man has never been documented. What did the emigrant take when he was leaving the ancient world? What items Main?
“You couldn’t write a better story,” he says. “You have the rich and the poor. You have the extravagance. You have the arrogance. You have the tragedy. You have the death.”