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What we know about how much oxygen remains on the missing Titanic submersible

Vessels have searched an area of the ocean “larger than the state of Connecticut” while trying to locate the submersible, a Coast Guard official said.
/ Source: TODAY

As the search continues for the missing Titanic tourist submersible that was last seen on June 18, the United States Coast Guard is providing an update on the estimated oxygen supply remaining for the people onboard.

The submersible, which is named Titan, planned to take five people to examine the wreckage of the Titanic. The ship split in two and sank in April 1912.

On Tuesday, June 20, the U.S. Coast Guard held a press conference to share more information about the search efforts and the current conditions for the five missing people. 

A Coast Guard official estimated at the time that roughly 40 hours of oxygen remained for the five tourists. The vessel started with a supply of up to 96 hours of oxygen. 

NBC News reported on June 21 at 3:10 p.m. ET that approximately 16 hours of oxygen remain.

The official said that the search, which is also being conducted via air, expanded to 7,600 square miles, which is “larger than the state of Connecticut.” 

In addition to the U.S. Coast Guard’s search efforts, the U.S. Navy, Canadian partners and civilians are helping to look for the submersible, as well. Although there are multiple vessels contributing to the search, the official explained that specialized equipment is needed to cover an area 2.5 miles deep. 

The Titan could be approximately 900 miles from Cape Cod and 400 miles from St. John’s, making it a challenging area to explore, the official explained. 

On June 21, NBC News reported that a Canadian aircraft detected “underwater noises,” but the U.S. Coast Guard said that the information and following redirected searches have “yielded negative results,” so far. 

First Coast Guard District Capt. Jamie Frederick said a Navy analysis of the noises was inconclusive. 

“We don’t know what (the noises) are to be frank with you,” Frederick said in  a press conference on June 21. “The intent will be to continue to search in those areas where the noises were detected ... then put additional ROVs down in the last known position where the original search was taking place.”

He also pointed out that the five passengers have a “limited ration” of food and water available. 

The company conducting the underwater mission to visit the Titanic  is called OceanGate Expeditions. CEO Stockton Rush, British billionaire and owner of Action Aviation Hamish Harding, a French dive expert named Paul Henry Nargeolet, Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son, Suleman Dawood, have been identified as the five people onboard the Titan, according to NBC News. 

OceanGate has been promoting a third trip on its explorer for $250,000 on Facebook and its website for months, NBC News said. 

On June 19, the company released a statement about the missing vessel, which can only be opened from the outside.  

“Our entire focus is on the wellbeing of the crew and every step possible is being taken to bring the five crew members back safely,” the statement said. “We are deeply grateful for the urgent and extensive assistance we are receiving.”

Aaron Newman, an investor in OceanGate, previously boarded the submersible craft to travel to the site of the Titanic wreckage in 2021. 

He spoke to TODAY about his experience on June 21, revealing that he “felt very safe.”

“They were a professional crew, they did a lot of training around safety and the backup systems around dropping weights,” he recalled. “So I felt very safe.”

Newman continued, “But ... this is not a Disney ride, right? We’re going places that very few people have been, and this is inventing things. So there are risks, right? And we know that, but all these people accepted that.”

He explained why he does not consider the five passengers to be “tourists.” 

“These are people who lived on the edge and loved what they were doing and if anything’s going on, these are people that are calm and thinking this through and doing what they can to stay alive. So this is a good set of people,” he said. 

Newman compared his experience visiting the remains of the Titanic to traveling to “another planet.”

Initially, he said the craft was warm before it descended into the cold depths of the ocean. 

He said, “You had to layer up — we had wool hats on and were doing everything to stay warm at that bottom.”