Cramped 22-ft long Titanic Tourist submersible steered by a Playstation controller is still missing with just hours of oxygen remaining – Onboard are five people, including British billionaire Hamish Harding who paid $250,000 each to tour the 1912 shipwreck.

Via Youtube / @OceanGate.Via Facebook / @Hamish Harding

A massive rescue operation is underway in the Atlantic Ocean in search of a submersible that went missing on an expedition to explore the wreckage of the Titanic. British billionaire explorer Hamish Harding and renowned French diver Paul-Henri Nargeolet are amongst the five people who are feared to be on board the missing vessel that is owned and operated by a company named OceanGate Expeditions. According to reports, the sub was launched on Sunday at 04:00 local time and lost communication with its mothership MV Polar Prince an hour and 45 minutes into its two-hour descent. It is believed that the vessel was directly above RMS Titanic’s wreckage when it last pinged.

The Titan submersible

OceanGate Expeditions, a company that offers eight-day missions to see Titanic’s wreckage at a cost of $250,000 per person, said in a statement that it is “exploring and mobilising all options to bring the crew back safely.” The company’s CEO Stockton Rush is also believed to be on board the submersible named Titan. The rescuers are racing against time as the sub only has a 96-hour sustainment capability, which leaves them with less than 70 hours before the vessel runs out of oxygen.

The Titanic wreck site is resting 13,000 feet deep in the Atlantic ocean.

Experts also fear the 5-person submersible is too deep under the ocean for a manned submarine to help in the rescue mission. Only remotely operated vehicles (ROV) that are capable of reaching a maximum depth of 6000 meters can be used in the rescue operation. David Concannon, an adviser to OceanGate, said officials are working to get such ROVs to the site as soon as possible.

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Via Facebook / @Hamish Harding

Hamish Harding, CEO of Action Aviation in Dubai, expressed his excitement about joining the expedition through a Facebook post on June 18. In addition to posting a photo of him signing the expedition’s banner, he even wrote about how this “mission is likely to be the first and only manned mission to the Titanic in 2023.” The US Coast Guard is currently spearheading the search and rescue operations. Reportedly, military aircraft including C-130s and P-8s from the US and Canada are assisting the operation in the remote area of the ocean, which is approximately 370 miles off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada.

he OceanGate team with the Titan.Via Facebook / @OceanGate

OceanGate Expeditions was founded in 2009 by Stockton Rush in the US as a company that provides crewed submersibles for industry, research, and exploration. It was in 2021 when the company began taking paying customers to visit the Titanic shipwreck in its Titan submersible. The 5-person vessel was developed and made by the OceanGate with the help of engineers from NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. Measuring 6.7 meters in length, the submersible is made with 5-inch-thick carbon fiber and titanium. The vessel boasts a Sub C Imaging 4k Rayfin camera, Teledyne 2D sonar, 40,000 lumens of external light, and a 2G Robotics laser scanner. Weighing almost 23,000 pounds, the submersible can descend to depths of 4,000 meters and travel at a maximum speed of three knots.

The Titan vessel departing its launch platform.

Titan can carry up to 5 people, which includes 4 paying customers and one person controlling the vessel. The vessel is categorized as a submersible and not a submarine as it can’t operate as an autonomous vehicle. It has to be launched from a recovery platform and is guided by text messages sent every 15 minutes from the crew on board the mothership. The sub uses Elon Musk’s Starlink to communicate with its mothership and is controlled by a reinforced Playstation controller.

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Via Facebook / @Hamish Harding

Who is Hamish Harding?
Hamish Harding is a UAE-based British billionaire. He is the founder of Action Group and chairman of Action Aviation, an international aircraft brokerage company with headquarters in Dubai. The 58-year-old is a well-known adventurer and currently holds three Guinness world records to his name. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, Harding led a team of aviators on a mission to circumnavigate the earth via North and South Poles in a Gulfstream G650ER in 46 hours 40 minutes, creating a world record. In 2021, he managed to set the records for the greatest length covered and greatest time spent at full ocean depth. The billionaire also visited the South Pole a number of times, accompanying Buzz Aldrin in 2016 as he became the oldest person ever to reach the South Pole. In addition to being an aviator himself, Harding is also a certified skydiver and a space tourist. He made a trip to the low-earth orbit last year with Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin company.

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Sayan Chakravarty, a Senior Writer at Luxurylaunches, brings over 10 years of automotive journalism expertise. He provides insightful coverage of the latest cars and motorcycles across American and European markets, while also highlighting luxury yachts, high-end watches, and gadgets. An authentic automobile aficionado, his commitment shines through in educating readers about the automotive world. When the keyboard rests, Sayan feeds his wanderlust, traversing the world on his motorcycle.