Canadian P-3 Aircraft Detect Underwater Noises in Search Area for Titan Submersible That Disappeared on Way to Titanic Wreckage

Staff report

BOSTON – June 21, 2023

In a significant development in the ongoing search for the 21-foot submersible research vessel, Titan Canadian P-3 aircraft deployed in the area detected underwater noises that have prompted a shift in the search operation. The United States Coast Guard (USCG) in the Northeast region (@USCGNortheast) announced the findings via Twitter.

The Titan submersible, carrying five people, disappeared on its way to the wreckage of the Titanic, which sank in 1912, and has fascinated the world for over a century. The Titan contained breathable air for 96 hours, and still had 40-41 hours of breathable air left Tuesday afternoon, according to the Coast Guard.

According to the USCGNortheast’s tweet, the Canadian P-3 aircraft picked up distinct underwater sounds in the designated search area. As a result, remotely operated vehicle (ROV) operations were swiftly relocated to investigate the origin of these noises. However, despite extensive efforts, the ROV searches conducted thus far have yielded negative results.

As of Tuesday morning, search operations have covered an extensive area of 10,000 square miles, taking advantage of favorable weather conditions and improved visibility compared to previous days. The Bahamian research vessel, Deep Energy, arrived at the scene at approximately 7 a.m. EDT and commenced remotely operated vehicle (ROV) operations. Additionally, a C-130 crew from the Air National Guard 106th arrived at around 4 p.m. EDT to provide further support in the search efforts.

Numerous assets are currently en route to assist in the operation. These include the Canadian CGS John Cabot, Canadian CGS Ann Harvey, Canadian CGS Terry Fox, Canadian CGS Atlantic Merlin (ROV), Motor Vessel Horizon Arctic, Commercial Vessel Skandi Vinland (ROV), French Research Vessel L’Atalante (ROV), and His Majesty’s Canadian Ship Glace Bay, which will provide a mobile decompression chamber and medical personnel.

“This is a complex search effort which requires multiple agencies with subject matter expertise and specialized equipment which we have gained through the unified command,” said Capt. Jamie Frederick, the response coordinator from the First Coast Guard District. “While the Coast Guard has assumed the role of Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator, we do not have all of the necessary expertise and equipment required in a search of this nature. The Unified Command brings that expertise and additional capability together to maximize effort in solving this complex problem.” 

The Coast Guard received a report at 5:40 p.m. EDT on June 18 regarding the overdue 21-foot submersible from the Canadian Research Vessel POLAR PRINCE, which had embarked at 8 a.m. that Sunday. The submersible was expected to resurface at 3 p.m., but contact was lost approximately one hour and 45 minutes into the dive.

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