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Tourist submarine disappears near Titanic wreckage; Coast Guard search and rescue underway

A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter. (Dreamstime/TNS)
June 19, 2023

The U.S. Coast Guard in Boston is searching for a submarine that went missing while exploring the wreck of the Titanic in the Atlantic Ocean.

The company offering the unique tourism experience, OceanGate Expeditions, confirmed to the BBC that the missing submarine has crew members on board. It is unclear if there are any tourists on the missing vessel.

“Our entire focus is on the crewmembers in the submersible and their families,” OceanGate Expeditions said in a statement. “We are exploring and mobilizing all options to bring the crew back safely.” 

The private company offers a $250,000 eight-day expedition to view the Titanic, which rests 12,500 feet below the surface off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada.

“After the successful expeditions to the wreck in 2021 and 2022, OceanGate Expeditions will continue to return annually to further document the Titanic and its rate of decay,” the company’s website states. “Given the massive scale of the wreck and the debris field, multiple missions performed over several years will be required to fully document and model the wreck site. This longitudinal survey to collect images, videos, laser, and sonar data will allow objective assessment of the rate of decay and documentation of the process.”

Earlier this year, President Joe Biden announced that the United States will send nuclear-armed submarines to South Korea for the first time in over 40 years. The announcement comes amid growing concerns over North Korean nuclear threats.

READ MORE: Pentagon asks Congress to move nuclear submarines to Australia

During a joint news conference at the White House in April, Biden and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol announced new efforts to deter North Korean aggression, including “port visits of nuclear submarines.”

“The alliance formed in war and has flourished in peace,” Biden said. “Our mutual defense treaty is iron clad and that includes our commitment to extend a deterrence – and that includes the nuclear threat, the nuclear deterrent.”

North Korea recently threatened “offensive action” over military exercises conducted by the United States and South Korea.

“A nuclear attack by North Korea against the United States or its allies or partners is unacceptable and will result in the end of whatever regime were to take such an action,” Biden said. “It’s about strengthening deterrence in response to the DPRK’s escalatory behavior.”

This was a breaking news story. The details were periodically updated as more information became available.