Titanic sub's last chance: Vital rescue equipment flown in on US cargo planes ahead of 15-hour race across Atlantic

21 June 2023, 08:22 | Updated: 21 June 2023, 08:53

Thee US Air Force cargo planes (stock image, L) have delivered an array of rescue equipment
Thee US Air Force cargo planes (stock image, L) have delivered an array of rescue equipment. Picture: Getty/OceanGate
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

An array of vital equipment arrived in Canada last night as rescue teams prepare to embark on a 15-hour scramble across the Atlantic where five people are trapped in a submersible underwater.

Vehicles capable of going 19,000ft underwater landed at St John's airport, Newfoundland, via three US cargo planes.

Meanwhile, two large machines with 'high voltage' written on the side were delivered on the cargo planes, though their function are not clear at this stage.

Rescue teams are in a race against time, with those trapped dangerously close to running out air, which is expected to happen in around 28 hours, at the time of writing.

Five people are trapped in the OceanGate submersible, which offers users the chance to visit the Titanic shipwreck for £195,000.

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.

Vital equipment arrived on US Air Force planes (stock)
Vital equipment arrived on US Air Force planes (stock). Picture: Getty

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OceanGate's Titan sub launched on Sunday morning. Contact was lost two hours after it launched.

Rescue teams from a number of countries are involved in efforts to find the submersible, with signs of hope reported on Tuesday night.

Read More: 'Signs of life': 'Banging' heard by searchers scouring ocean for missing Titanic sub, sparking hopes of rescue

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Banging sounds were heard by searchers, sparking faint hopes of a rescue.

The banging, which came at 30-minute intervals, was picked up on sonar by a Canadian aircraft, leaked US government messages show.

One of the most important pieces of equipment in the rescue missions is a 19,000ft submersible, capable of reaching the Titan - which is estimated to be around 12,000ft below the sea surface.

Read More: Forty hours of 'breathable' air left on missing Titanic sub as underwater drones deployed in search

The last known photo of the Titanic submarine
The last known photo of the Titanic submarine. Picture: social media

David Concannon, an advisor to OceanGate, previously warned that bureaucracy had been keeping vital equipment on the ground.

Speaking on Monday, 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."

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."