'Banging noises' heard in search for missing Titanic sub ‘inconclusive,’ as Coast Guard say they ‘always have hope’

21 June 2023, 18:26 | Updated: 21 June 2023, 22:35

The US Coast Guard has delivered the latest on the search
The US Coast Guard has delivered the latest on the search. Picture: Facebook/Alamy/Screengrab

By Emma Soteriou

The 'banging noises' heard in the search for the missing Titanic sub are 'inconclusive', the US Coast Guard has said.

Captain Jamie Frederick of the US Coast Guard said despite hearing noises during their search they were still not sure what they were.

He said: "It was my understanding that the P3 had heard some noises today as well."

As a result, ROV (remotely operated vehicle) operations have been relocated in an attempt to explore the origin of the noises.

"The data from the P3 aircraft has been shared with our US Navy experts for further analysis which will be considered in future search plans," Mr Frederick said.

Carl Hartsfield, from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, said: "The ocean is a very complex place, obviously human sounds, nature sounds, and it's very difficult to discern what the sources of those noises are at times, but I can tell you that this team has multiple sensors that are in the area, they're sending data back expeditiously to the best people in the world to analyse that data and they're feeding the results of the analysis back to the unified team and they're making decisions.

"There have been multiple reports of noises and every one of those noises is being analysed, tracked, looked for patterns and reported upon."

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As the race against time continues to find the five missing passengers aboard the Titanic tour sub, Mr Frederick explained that limited oxygen was just one of many data points the Coast Guard are considering.

"We always have hope - that's why we're doing what we do," he said.

He explained that the operation was still being treated as a "search and rescue" rather than "recovery".

However, rescuers were unable to say whether the vessel is still operable, saying: "We’re not in the business of speculation, we’re in the business of searching."

The search area for the sub has massively expanded in the last 24 hours to two times the size of Connecticut, which is around 5,000 square miles.

More surface assets are expected in the next day as the search takes yet another step up.

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The submersible is believed to be around 12,500ft below the surface, which makes it incredibly difficult for rescue teams to reach.

Those trapped onboard include UK billionaire Hamish Harding, two Pakistanis - Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman - Stockton Rush, CEO of OceanGate Expeditions, as well as 73-year-old French explorer Paul-Henry Nargeolet.

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It comes after a friend of Mr Harding, Chris Brown, told LBC's Tom Swarbrick that he originally signed up to join the expedition but pulled out after paying £110,000.

"I paid £110,000 before the mission went out," Mr Brown said.

"I pulled out fairly early on. I don’t want to go into reasons while they're still searching."

However he did confirm the reasons were related to safety concerns.

Mr Brown went on to say: "One of the things that you’ll find in common with modern explorers is you go into these things knowing the risks.

"You always know there’s a risk there and that’s something you tend to accept."