The oxygen supply on the Titan submersible likely ran out Thursday morning, four days after the vessel went missing during an expedition to view the wreck of the Titanic, officials said.
The U.S. Coast Guard estimated the Titan’s oxygen supply would fully evaporate by 7 a.m. ET, but the conditions aboard the deep-sea submersible remain unclear.
There are 5 people on the vessel: British businessman Hamish Harding; Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son, Suleman; French explorer Paul-Henri Nargeolet; and Stockton Rush, CEO of OceanGate, the company behind the unique tourism experience.
“Based on the approximate 96 hours of oxygen supplies on the vessel at the time of deployment, any other estimates [than about 1pm UK time on Thursday] would be too uncertain for us to confirm,” a U.S. Coast Guard spokesperson told The Independent.
The search for the missing submersible continued Thursday morning, when U.S. Coast Guard Northeast said the French vessel L’Atalante arrived on scene and deployed its remote operated vehicle, a deep-sea robot capable of searching for the Titan on the sea floor.
The Guard added that the weather at the scene was mild with winds at “14 mph with gusts up to 19mph. Sea state is 4-5ft swells with an air temp of 50°f.”
Chris Parker, president and chief forecaster at Marine Weather Center, said the weather conditions were “pretty good” for the ongoing search, NBC News reported.
Josh Gates, who hosts the Discovery Channel’s “Expedition Unknown,” said he previously considered the Titan for a feature on his show. During his review of the vessel, he found “a lot of the systems worked, but a lot of them really didn’t.”
“In the course of going out on Titan and diving down inside of it, it just became clear to us at that time that there was a lot that still needed to be worked out with the sub,” Gates said during an appearance on CNN.
“Ultimately, I just felt by the end of that trip that I just couldn’t get comfortable with Titan at that time. I felt that it needed time to go out and do missions and kind of get into a groove before we were going to go and film with it,” he added.
Gates noted that the Titan was “incredibly innovative” with a “novel design,” but it also had “a lot of unknowns.”