Tourist submarine visiting Titanic shipwreck disappears, prompting search


The US Coast Guard has launched a search for a missing tourist submarine that disappeared Sunday after it went to explore the wreckage of the Titanic, the agency told NBC Boston. It is not yet known how many people were on the ship when it disappeared.

OceanGate Expeditions, a private company that organizes trips to explore the Titanic’s wreckage, said it was working with numerous government agencies to help rescue its crew.

“Our entire focus is on the crew members of the submersible and their families. We are deeply grateful for the extensive assistance we have received from various government agencies and deep-sea companies in our efforts to re-establish contact with the submersible,” said the company in a statement.

The sub was part of an OceanGate tour to explore the iconic wreck of the Titanic, located 900 nautical miles east of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. But she couldn’t come back on Sunday.

The Coast Guard has coordinated a search to find or recover the submersible and any survivors. The Canadian Coast Guard is also assisting in the search, but has referred all questions to its US counterpart.

Considered the most famous shipwreck in the world, the Titanic was an opulent 883-foot ocean liner. Thought of as “unsinkable”, she shocked the world in 1912 when she struck ice in the Atlantic Ocean and sank. More than 1,500 people died.

The remains were discovered in 1985, about 350 miles off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada. Surrounded by debris, the two main pieces of the ship are about 600 meters apart, according to a full-size scan that was released earlier this year.

The continuing fascination with the Titanic has sparked a tourist industry around the liner and its sinking, particularly after the release of director James Cameron’s 1997 film of the same name.

OceanGate tours include a 10-day trip with 18 dives from a larger boat to a maximum depth of 12,800 feet. Scientific research and observation are also carried out on the trips, according to the company.

According to OceanGate’s website, the fees customers pay “subscribe to the mission, participation of the science team, and their own training.” People can pay up to $250,000 to join the exploration, the New York Times reported last year.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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