A submarine went missing on Monday in the Titanic wreck area in the North Atlantic, sparking a search and rescue operation by the U.S. Coast Guard, according to the agency and the company that operates the craft.
Petty Officer Lourdes Putnam confirmed that Coast Guard officials were looking for the submersible, operated by OceanGate Expeditions. It was unclear how many people were aboard the vessel and Agent Putnam did not provide further details.
OceanGate, a company that takes paying tourists in submersibles to shipwrecks and underwater canyons, said on its website on Monday that an expedition was « currently underway. » The company’s website states that its submersibles carry five people.
In a statement following the submarine’s disappearance, the company said it was exploring all options to get the crew back to safety.
« Our entire attention is directed to the crew members of the submersible and their families, » it said in a statement. « We are deeply grateful for the extensive assistance we have received from several government agencies and deep-sea companies in our efforts to re-establish contact with the submersible. »
The Titanic sank in 1912 on her maiden voyage from England to New York after hitting an iceberg, killing more than 1,500 people. The wreck was found in 1985, split into two main sections, approximately 400 miles off Newfoundland in eastern Canada, and has attracted the attention of experts and amateurs alike ever since.
OceanGate offered tours of the Titanic in which guests paid $250,000 to reach the wreck on the seabed, more than two miles below the ocean’s surface.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.