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$250,000-a-Seat Submersible On a Trip To Titanic Wreckage Goes Missing; What We Know So Far

The OceanGate submersible lost contact just one hour and 45 minutes into the journey on Sunday.
UPDATED JUN 21, 2023
Cover Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Cover Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

A desperate hunt is on to locate the submersible that went missing during a trip to the bottom of the ocean. The submersible was taking tourists to the wreckage of the legendary Titanic. 

On its way down, the submersible lost contact sparking fears for the safety of the five members onboard. The OceanGate submersible called Titan lost contact just one hour and 45 minutes into the sea Sunday, as per the United States Coasts Guard. 

Since the discovery of the wreckage in 1985, the tales of the ship and the iceberg have captivated people from around the world. The vessle is equipped with all modern technology, however, the immense pressure of the deep sea can fail even the best of technologies. 

Government agencies have deployed maritime experts and specialized teams to find it. Deep-diving teams, sonar systems, and also ROVs, which can be operated from a distance, are all pressed into rescue operations. But the teams are facing numerous hurdles because of the North Atlantic's dangerous underwater conditions. 

As per New York Post, the submersible had less than 70 to 96 hours of emergency oxygen (at the time of writing) to support the passengers onboard. 

The deepest rescue of any submarine was recorded at a depth of just 1575 feet below the Celtic Sea off the coast of Ireland in 1973, as per BBC. 


The submersible Titan is a smaller version of a submarine. As per Daily Mail, it is the world's only carbon-fiber submersible capable of carrying five people on board -- a pilot, a content expert, and three guests.

The company OpenGate advertises it as a "once in a lifetime opportunity" to safely witness the Titanic wreckage site. 

The submarine is 22 ft long and features a dome window at the front end, from which guests can sit and watch the majestic ruin site. 

The submersible is also designed to automatically float up to the surface of the sea if it runs into any trouble and is also supposed to remain connected to the Internet via Elon Musk's Starlink system. However, as we know, the vessel has lost all connection. 

David Pogue, who traveled in the vessel last year, told the BBC that there's no way to escape from the vessel unless an external crew is letting them out. The submarine is locked by bolts from the outside and has to be unlocked from the outside for them to get out. 

As per Sky News, a distress signal has been sent out from the submersible. Dr Dimon Boxall said that they have generated a distress signal from the vessel, however, the timing of the communication is not yet known.

Pexels | Aneta Foubíková
Pexels | Aneta Foubíková

The vessel that has disappeared is a submersible, which is a miniature submarine. A submarine is fully capable of renewing its own power and also oxygen. Unlike a submarine, a submersible relies on outside help, such as a surface vessel or an outside team. 

In an official statement about the missing vessel, the company said that it was "exploring and mobilizing all options" in an effort to bring back the crew members.

"We are deeply thankful for the extensive assistance we have received from several government agencies and deep sea companies in our efforts to re-establish contact with the submersible, we are working toward the safe return of the crew members." the company added.

Pexels | Kellie Churchman
Pexels | Kellie Churchman

One of the passengers on board is the British billionaire businessman Hamish Harding. Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son are also on the submersible, Reuters reported. Among the other passengers are Stockon Rush, and French Pilot Paul Henry Nargeolet. 

It is only been a decade since passengers have had the opportunity to reach the bottom of the ocean to witness the Titanic shipwreck. At $250,000 a seat on a submarine, it's not a tour that ordinary tourists can afford. The eight-day trip includes dives to the wreck at a depth of 3,800m (12,500ft), as per BBC.