Disasters & Accidents

Mini-sub search team leader: We don’t know where the sounds are coming from

Washington, Jun 21 (EFE).- The search and rescue teams scouring the North Atlantic for the missing mini-submarine with five people on board who were diving to view the wreck of the Titanic do not know where the recently detected “banging” sounds are coming from, although hopes have been raised that the crew may yet be found alive, although their oxygen is calculated to be running quite low.

Stating that he could not say what was causing the sounds, Coast Guard Capt. Jamie Frederick noted at a press conference on Wednesday that the search teams were looking carefully in the area of ocean where the sounds were detected.

He said that a Canadian P3 maritime patrol aircraft had detected sounds both on Tuesday and on Wednesday morning.

As soon as the sounds were detected, rescue team members transferred the operations of the French remote-controlled underwater drones (ROV’s) to the zone where the sounds were heard to try and determine their origin.

Despite the fact that up to now the search has shown no tangible results, the ROV’s are continuing to probe the area, Frederick said.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution official Carl Hartsfield said at the same press conference that the sounds appear to be “banging noises.”

He emphasized that the ocean is a “very complicated” place with human-made and natural sounds echoing through the water all the time, and thus it is difficult to discern the origin of the sounds but he emphasized that the rescue teams have “multiple sensors” and that the information is being sent to highly-trained experts who are analyzing the data and they will furnish the results of their analysis to the search operation’s decision-makers.

The search is being conducted in an area of ocean twice as large as the state of Connecticut, meaning about 10,000 square miles, and the ocean depths down to 2.5 miles beneath the surface are being probed.

In that regard, the Coast Guard captain said that the teams have expanded “exponentially” the size of the search area and that it is being widened even further “every hour.”

The search operations are taking place 900 miles northeast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and 400 miles from St. John’s, Newfoundland.

Participating in the search are units and personnel from the US, Canada, France and the United Kingdom, including aircraft, vessels and undersea drones, and Frederick added that more help is on the way.

On Tuesday, the Coast Guard captain said that the submersible had only 40 hours of oxygen left and so the search teams are working against the clock to find it and rescue the crew, and on Wednesday he said that the people on board have only “limited” amounts of food.

He went on to say that “This is a search and rescue mission, 100 percent. … We are smack dab in the middle of search and rescue and we’ll continue to put every available asset that we have in an effort to find the (mini-sub) Titan and the crew members.”

Contact with the submersible was lost on Sunday as it was diving to the Titanic wreck site.

EFE ssa/er/bp

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