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'We have to move now!': Vital equipment needed to rescue Titanic submersible 'stuck on tarmac due to US bureaucracy'
20 June 2023, 08:20 | Updated: 21 June 2023, 15:17
- Titanic sub hunters pick up ‘banging sounds’ on sonar that could be signs of life
- Oxygen supplies will run out 11am Thursday (BST), US Coast Guard estimate
- Final picture of sub before it went missing
- Who is onboard the Titanic sub?
- Titanic tourists' best hope: Only rescue ship capable of winching sub to safety joins desperate hunt for Titan
- Titan submersible company warned years ago by experts that 'experimental' approach could lead to 'catastrophe'
- Dive expert friend of missing Brits on Titanic sub says vessel design is 'unconventional' and calls for 'rethink'
- Vital rescue equipment flown in on US cargo planes ahead of 15-hour race across Atlantic
Crucial equipment that could help find five crew members onboard a submersible that disappeared while looking for the Titanic is stuck on the ground due to 'bureaucracy'.
David Concannon, an advisor to OceanGate, has warned that rescue teams "do not have minutes or hours" and that they "need to move now".
He told NewsNation: "This equipment has been on the tarmac for hours. When I communicate with the U.S. government, I get 'out of office' replies - not from everyone, but from key people that have a sign-off on this."
OceanGate's submersible, named Titan, went missing on Sunday morning, around one hour and 45 minutes into its journey to find the Titanic shipwreck around 12,500ft into the ocean.
Five passengers were onboard, including 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.
As of Monday evening, the passengers had around 96 hours of oxygen left.
Foreign Secretary hopes missing submersible will be swiftly found'
Mr Concannon, who was originally meant to be on the submersible before a last minute schedule change, said the delays in getting rescue equipment off the ground were "unacceptable".
He continued: "If we move fast, we can get to the site in 40 hours from where the ship is now.
"If we get the assets flown from Guernsey Channel Islands overnight, we can have them mobilised on the ship in a day and we can get there inside the window
"'Now, it's at the end of the window, but we can get there inside the window where there's still oxygen in the submersible and that's what we want to do."
Search continues for Titanic tourist submarine missing in Atlantic
The Titan submersible is believed to weigh around 23,000lbs, is 6.7m in length, and can hold five people for up to 96 hours.
An eight-day trip to the Titanic wreck, roughly 3,800 underwater, typically costs £195,000.
A number of search and rescue teams are involved in the operation to find the vessel, including from the US and Canada.
A ship named the Polar Prince, has conducted a search on the surface, the US coastguard said in a news conference on Monday.
Frank Owen, a former submarine officer, said the key for those stuck onboard will be to not lose their composure, with 96 hours of oxygen remaining.
"[If] they start panicking or moving around too much they could exceed those rates," he told the BBC.