U.S. and Canadian ships and planes searched on Monday for a submersible that went missing more than a day earlier off the coast of southeastern Canada while taking tourists to explore the wreckage of the Titanic, officials said.
The U.S. Coast Guard said there was one pilot and four passengers on board and that the vessel had the capacity to be submerged for 96 hours, but it was unclear whether it was still underwater or had surfaced and was unable to communicate.
U.S. and Canadian ships and planes have swarmed the area about 900 miles (1,450 km) east of Cape Cod, some dropping sonar buoys that can monitor to a depth of 13,000 feet (3,962 meters), U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral John Mauger told reporters on Monday.
The private company that operates the submarine, OceanGate Expeditions, said in a statement on Monday that it was “mobilizing all options” to rescue those on board. British billionaire Hamish Harding is among the passengers, according to a social media post from a relative.
The U.S. Coast Guard said earlier on Twitter that a boat on the surface – the Polar Prince – lost contact with the submarine, called the Titan, about one hour and 45 minutes after it began diving toward the site of the Titanic’s wreckage on Sunday morning.
The expeditions, which cost $250,000 per person, start in St. John’s, Newfoundland, before heading out approximately 400 miles (640 km) into the Atlantic to the wreckage site, according to OceanGate’s website.
In order to visit the wreck, passengers climb inside Titan, the five-person submersible, which takes two hours to descend approximately 12,500 feet (3,800 m) to the Titanic.