Titanic sub's last sighting: Footage shows tourists heading to wreck as desperate rescuers have just hours to save them

22 June 2023, 03:11 | Updated: 22 June 2023, 06:15

The Titanic sub's final moments
The Titanic sub's final moments. Picture: Alamy/TikTok

By Emma Soteriou

Footage has shown the moment the missing Titanic tourist sub began its decent down towards the wreckage as rescuers race to find the vessel.

Just hours remain to find the five missing passengers aboard the Titanic tour sub, which is believed to be around 12,500ft below the surface.

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.

Abbi Jackson, who appears to have been employed by the company onboard the mothership, filmed the vessel as it made its descent at the weekend.

She shared the clip on TikTok earlier in the week, captioning it: "Watching a submarine go down to the Titanic."

She had also previously created a video on one of the missing passengers - French explorer Paul-Henry Nargeolet - labelling him a legend and saying: "This man has seen the Titanic 37 times".

Read more: Has the Titanic sub been found? Timeline of events and latest updates

Read more: 30mph gusts and 7ft swell at search site as efforts to find missing Titanic sub enter critical 24 hours

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.

Five specialist vessels backed by deep-sea robots and search-and-rescue aircraft are already searching the are up to a depth of 2½ miles. But their number is set to double before the air supply deadline.

Among robot subs joining the last-ditch bid are the Victor 6000 and a US Navy CURV21.

Victor 6000 is operated by a 25-strong crew which can work non-stop for up to 72 hours.

"We don't need to stop at night," said Olivier Lefort from Ifremer, a French research institute that operates the robot.

"Victor is able to do visual exploration with all the video equipment it has", Mr Lefort said.

"It is also equipped with manipulating arms which could be used to extricate the sub, such as by sectioning cables or things that would be blocking it at the bottom."

Meanwhile, the US Navy CURV21 can salvage wreckage and craft up to 20,000ft down.

The explorer who narrowly avoided trip on missing OceanGate sub

It comes after Captain Jamie Frederick of the US Coast Guard said in a press conference on Wednesday that despite hearing noises during their search they were still not sure what they were.

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

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.

Meanwhile, Carl Hartsfield, from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, explained: "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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Michael Guillén on his experience of diving to see the Titanic

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."

Rescuers race against clock after noises heard from Titanic vessel search area

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."

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