The US Coast Guard is searching for a Canadian research submersible that went missing on Sunday after it went to explore the wreckage of the Titanic.

The 21-foot submersible and its crew of five, from the Canadian research vessel Polar Prince, began a dive Sunday morning, according to the Coast Guard. But the Polar Prince lost contact with the ship after one hour and 45 minutes.

the lost submersible which is called Titan, according to Associated Press is part of an OceanGate Expeditions tour exploring the wreckage of the Titanic, located 900 nautical miles east of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The private company organizes trips to explore the remains with its research teams.

Rear Admiral John Mauger, commander of the Coast Guard district leading the search, said they received a call for help from OceanGate on Sunday afternoon after the crew lost contact and the sub missed its return time. He said the Coast Guard immediately launched an air and surface search to find or recover the submersible and any survivors.

«We really brought all the assets that we have available to us to find the submersible and the people in it,» Mauger said. «We understand from the operator of the submersible that there is a 96-hour reserve capacity there, and that gives us some time to conduct a search. But when something happens offshore, it gets complicated quickly.»

A US Coast Guard ship is in Boston Harbor on Monday. Joseph Prezioso / AFP – Getty Images

One of the missing crew members is Hamish Harding, the billionaire owner and president of Action Aviation. An Instagram post from Harding on Sunday said he would join the OceanGate expedition «as a mission specialist,» usually a crew member who pays a fee to join the effort.

The fees from those crew members «fund the mission, the participation of the science team, and their own mission,» the OceanGate website says.

The company said it was working with numerous government agencies to assist in the rescue of its submersible crew.

«Our entire focus is on the crew members of the submersible and their families, we are deeply grateful for the extensive assistance we have received from various government agencies and deep-sea companies in our efforts to re-establish contact with the submersible,» OceanGate said. it’s a statement. statement.

Mauger said the Coast Guard brought in technical experts, launched sonar buoys to listen for underwater noise and reached out to other government agencies and private contractors for help and «to better understand what an underwater search and rescue effort would look like.»

Titanic shipwreck.
The bow of the RMS Titanic, which sank off the coast of Newfoundland in 1912.Nauticus via AP, file

Coast Guard officials said at a news conference Monday afternoon that they have deployed two C-130 aircraft for an aerial search and that the sonar buoys can listen to a depth of 13,000 feet.

The New York National Guard is providing a third C-130, and the Canadian Coast Guard provided a C-130, as well as a P8 Poseidon aircraft that has underwater detection capabilities.

The Coast Guard said it is also relying on commercial boat operators already in nearby waters, as well as OceanGate’s mother ship, Polar Prince, for help.

Mauger added at the news conference that the Coast Guard is working to expand its capabilities to also include an underwater search.

OceanGate submersibles have shorter power cycles than submarines and are tied to a mother ship (the Polar Prince in this case) when operating far from land. Submarines, by contrast, can typically travel long distances independently and use a port as their base of operations.

OceanGate’s expeditions include a 10-day trip with 18 dives from a larger boat to a maximum depth of 12,800 feet, according to the company. People can pay up to $250,000 to join the exploration, The New York Times reported last year.

OceanGate’s website says that during visits to the Titanic site, its teams collect images, video, and laser and sonar data for scientific study, in order to document the condition of the wreck and gather information on flora and fauna using the sunken ship as their sea base. home.

Considered the most famous shipwreck in the world, the Titanic was an opulent 883-foot ocean liner. Thought of as «unsinkable», she shocked the world in 1912 when she struck ice in the Atlantic Ocean and sank. More than 1,500 people died.

The remains were discovered in 1985, about 350 miles off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada. Surrounded by debris, the two main pieces of the ship are about 600 meters apart, according to a full-size scan that was released earlier this year.

The continuing fascination with the Titanic has sparked a tourist industry around the liner and its sinking, particularly after the release of director James Cameron’s 1997 film of the same name.