Banging sounds and “underwater noises” have been detected during the search for the submersible that vanished near the Titanic shipwreck.
The US Coast Guard in a statement said Canadian P-3 aircraft detected underwater noises in the search zone, prompting operations to relocate to explore the sounds.
“Those ROV searches have yielded negative results but continue,” the statement read.
An internal government memo on the search mission, seen by CNN, also indicated sonar picked up sounds 30-minutes apart on Tuesday.
“Additional acoustic feedback was heard and will assist in vectoring surface assets and also indicating continued hope of survivors,” the update said, according to CNN.
Meanwhile, fellow explorers have claimed there have been “signs of life” and talk of “tapping” sounds in water.
The hopeful news comes after the US Coast Guard revealed there is less than 40 hours of oxygen remaining on board the OceanGate vessel known as Titan.
Five men are believed to be on board the submersible. They are: British billionaire Hamish Harding, OceanGate founder Stockton Rush, French explorer Paul-Henri Nargeolet and Shahzada Dawood, a prominent Pakistani businessman, and Mr Dawood’s son Suleman.
The location of the search was approximately 900 miles east of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, in water as deep as 13,000 feet.
Follow the latest updates below.
Canadian P-3 aircraft detects underwater noises
According to the US Coast Guard, Canadian P-3 aircraft detected underwater noises in the search area.
“As a result, ROV operations were relocated in an attempt to explore the origin of the noises,” a tweet read.
The US Coast added those ROV searches “yielded negative results” but continue.
Explorers claim ‘signs of life’
Friends of the passengers on board the submersible claim “signs of life” were detected in the search zone.
A group known as The Explorers Club said “data from the field” gave them hope the five people believed to be on board could be alive.
While the US Coast Guard confirmed on Tuesday night the search had not yielded any results, the president of The Explorers Club claimed “signs of life” had given them “cause for hope”:
Hope pinned on deep-diving robot
French scientists are racing to get to the search zone, amid hope their robot with capability to dive to a depth of 6000m (20,000ft) could lead to a breakthrough in the difficult rescue mission.
France’s national integrated marine science research institute announced Tuesday it was diverting Atlante, a research vessel which carries the Victor 6000 autonomous robot.
Victor 6000 is a remotely operated deep-water system that can generate high-quality underwater pictures and is equipped with sensors that may be able to detect the missing vessel.
It is expected to arrive by 8pm Wednesday, according to Hervé Berville, the French Secretary of State in charge of Sea.
“The idea and our goal is for the ship to arrive as soon as possible,” Mr Berville said.
“This is a race of time.”
Mr Berville spoke to BFMTV:
The three places the missing vessel could be
Research oceanographer Jules Jaffe, who was part of the team that developed the optical imaging system used to find the Titanic in 1985, said there are three places the missing vessel could be:
“It’s either sitting on the seafloor, somewhere in the water column, or sitting on the surface,” he told ABC10 in San Diego.
“It could be in the water column. I think that’s probably the most likely place it is.”
Jamie Pringle, a professor of forensic geosciences at Keele University, said if the submersible had settled on the ocean floor, it could be very difficult to spot.
“The bottom of the ocean is not flat; there are lots of hills and canyons,” Mr Pringle said, according to NBC.
Four things that may have gone wrong with the Titanic sub
Venturing to the bottom of the sea is fraught with complications, and some experts argue it is more challenging than going into space.
Here are four things that could have gone wrong for the Titan and her crew:
A power blackout
Read the full analysis by Science Editor Sarah Knapton here
Shipwreck hunter: Reports of ‘tapping’ in the water
David Mearns, a shipwreck hunter and friend of two of the missing people, Hamish Harding and Paul Henri Nargeolet, said he had heard reports from an explorers’ club that rescuers had heard “tapping” in the water.
“There are some reports that I’ve just read from my own club, which is how I know Hamish, that somebody today has heard some tapping,” he told Channel 4.
“It’s hard to imagine how they could have heard that, but they are at least trying to encourage the rescue efforts to continue [on the basis] that they’ve heard something which suggests that the men are alive.”
The Telegraph could not independently verify the reports.
Titan sub firm boss was warned snags could be ‘catastrophic’
The chief executive of OceanGate was reportedly warned by leaders in the submersible industry that the company’s “experimental approach” could result in problems “from minor to catastrophic”.
The warning came in a 2018 letter to Stockton Rush obtained by the New York Times.
Meanwhile, it emerged that OceanGate was involved in a complex legal case in 2018 with a former employee who claimed there were safety issues.
Read the full story by Ben Farmer and Nick Allen here
Oceanologist: Submersible is not above the surface
Dr Simon Boxall told GB News the vessel would not be above the surface because if it was, it would be able to use radios.
He spoke about other misconceptions in relation to the rescue effort and said it was a mistake to believe passengers could use escape hatches, because if they did they would be crushed.
Dr Boxall said another misconception was that people would get decompression sickness, colloquially known as “the bends”, if the vessel moved up to the surface too quickly.
He told PA that those on board would not suffer “ill-effects” because the submersible is at atmospheric pressure.
Chilling final text from Harding to Virts revealed
Retired NASA astronaut Terry Virts has shared the last text he received from Hamish Harding before he vanished.
Mr Virts said his friend “understood the risks” he could face and was “very excited” about the underwater adventure.
“He went down to the deepest part of the ocean, set a few world records … at the Mariana Trench [the deepest part of the ocean] and we talked quite a bit about the risks and the different things that they were going to be able to do,” he told ITV.
A day before the expedition took off, Mr Harding texted Mr Virts and also shared his excitement on social media.
“Hey, we’re headed out tomorrow, it looks good, the weather’s been bad so they’ve been waiting for this,” he messaged Mr Virts.
Vessel sent out a distress signal, says oceanologist
Oceanologist Dr Simon Boxall, of the University of Southampton, believes the submersible has sent out a distress signal.
He told PA: “This is second-hand knowledge but my understanding is that they have received a signal from the submarine.
“You can’t use radios underwater. You rely totally on ‘pings’. What they have is really limited communication.
“Apparently they have had, and I don’t know when, they have had an emergency ping saying the vessel is in distress.”
Dr Boxall said he did not know if the ping was “automatically generated or generated by people on board”.
“It could be that the vessel is lost already or it could be automatic,” he said.
He did not know when the message was transmitted.
Rescuers must shift focus
Attention has now turned to the complex task of attempting a rescue in the inky, crushing depths of the Atlantic.
The Titan could be more than two miles down on the ocean floor where the sea bed near the Titanic is undulating and complex around the wreckage of the Titanic.
The pressure at that depth is also 400 times what it is at sea level, beyond the limits of what human divers can reach outside of a specialised container. Though finding the vessel is the first major challenge.
Read the full story by Rozina Sabur here
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