Two Billionaires Among the Missing on Tourist Submarine Exploring the Titanic Hamish Harding and Shahzada Dawood were aboard a vessel that lost contact an hour and 45 minutes into its dive towards the Titanic wreck.
A high-tech submarine that takes people to the depths of the Atlantic Ocean to see the wrecks of the Titanic has gone missing, and rescuers are racing to save those onboard before their air supply runs out.
According to Sky News, passengers on the Titan submersible include British billionaires Hamish Harding and Shahzada Dawood, French submarine pilot Paul-Henry Nargeolet, and Dawood's son Suleman.
The exclusive tour is run by OceanGate Expeditions, a private company that charges as much $250,000 a person for the chance to see the Titanic wreckage off the coast of Newfoundland.
Race against the clock
According to the US Coast Guard, the small submarine carrying five passengers began its journey on Sunday morning. About an hour and 45 minutes into the dive, the Canadian research vessel, Polar Prince, that it was working with lost contact with the crew.
The sub is thought to be in an area about 900 miles east of Cape Cod.
The Coast Guard warned that the search had been a "challenge" due to the remote location. They also noted that they are racing against the clock as the oxygen onboard diminishes.
"We're doing everything we can do to locate the submersible and rescue those on board," Rear Admiral John Mauger told reporters. "In terms of the hours, we understood that was 96 hours of emergency capability from the operator, and so we anticipate that there's somewhere between 70 to the full 96 hours available at this point."
As of Tuesday morning, the US Coast Guard searched 10,000 square miles for the missing submersible.
Mauger said the Canadian Coast Guard also sent out sonar buoys capable of detecting the submarine even at the bottom of the ocean.
In a statement, OceanGate said it was "exploring and mobilizing all options" to bring the crew back safely.
Because of the submarine's remote location, the USCG must rely on Elon Musk's Starlink satellites to communicate at sea.
About the billionaires
The Dubai-based Harding is chairman of Action Aviation. He is no stranger to expensive, death-defying adventures. Last year, he paid to be a passenger aboard Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin rocket. He has also dived the Challenger Deep to a depth of 36,000 feet.
On Saturday, Harding shared a photo of himself on Instagram just before OceanGate's voyage to the Titanic, writing, "Due to the worst winter in Newfoundland in 40 years, this mission is likely to be the first and only manned mission to the Titanic in 2023. A weather window has just opened up and we are going to attempt a dive tomorrow."
His stepson, Brian Szasz, wrote on Facebook earlier today: "Thoughts and prayers for my stepfather Hamish Harding as his Submarine has gone missing exploring Titanic. Search and rescue mission is underway."
Shahzada Dawood, 48, is the vice chairman of Engro Corporation, which makes fertilizers, food, and energy, as well as the Dawood Hercules Corporation, which makes chemicals. He was born in Pakistan but moved to the UK and became a British citizen. He is one of the richest men in Pakistan, according to The Daily Mail.
He was accompanied on the dive by his teenage son, Suleman Daewood.
OceanGate made its first successful manned submarine tour of the Titanic's wreckage in 2021. On its website, the company boasts that the 5-passenger Titan submarine can dive over 13,000 feet with the push of one button.
"Titan is lighter in weight and more cost-efficient to mobilize than any other deep diving submersible. A combination of ground-breaking engineering and off-the-shelf technology gives Titan a unique advantage over other deep-diving subs."
The inside of the 22-foot-long submersible is about the size of a minivan. There is one porthole through which passengers can view the wreckage.