US Coast Guard says it has detected underwater noises in the search area (see ‘Underwater noises heard’ post in live blog below). Report in the US claims ‘banging’ sound heard at 30-minute intervals
Overnight report claims “safety and quality control” issues had been raised about the missing sub in 2018 court documents (see ‘Safety fears raised’ below)
President of Explorers’ Club, which missing British explorer Hamish Harding founded says: “There is cause for hope”
Harding is one of five people missing, also including British-based Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son, Suleman
The other are French submersible pilot, Paul-Henri Nargeolet, and chief executive of OceanGate Expeditions, Stockton Rush
The submersible had about 96 hours of emergency oxygen on board, enough to last until Thursday morning
Missing submersible: Read more
Safety concerns raised over missing sub
Rescue teams are racing against the breathable air clock after noises were detected from the search area for the missing deep-sea vessel near the wreck site of the Titanic.
The submersible, named Titan, lost communication with tour operators on Sunday while about 435 miles south of St John’s, Newfoundland, during a voyage to the shipwreck off the coast of Canada.
The Titan has five people on board, including British billionaire adventurer Hamish Harding, and the 6.7m (22ft) long OceanGate Expeditions vessel may have as little as 24 hours of oxygen left.
The others on board are Shahzada Dawood, his son Suleman and OceanGate’s chief executive and founder Stockton Rush, reportedly together with French submersible pilot Paul-Henry Nargeolet.
The US Coast Guard on Wednesday morning said: “Canadian P-3 aircraft detected underwater noises in the search area. As a result, ROV (remote operating vehicles) operations were relocated in an attempt to explore the origin of the noises.
“Those ROV searches have yielded negative results but continue.
“Additionally, the data from the P-3 aircraft has been shared with our US Navy experts for further analysis which will be considered in future search plans.”
The P-3 submarine hunter is described by its manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, as “the ultimate maritime patrol aircraft” and was used in the Cuban Missile Crisis, Hurricane Katrina and the BP Horizon oil rig disaster in the US.
The Explorers’ Club, of which Mr Harding is a founding member, shared an upbeat message on Wednesday morning.
President Richard Garriot de Cayeux said in a statement: “There is cause for hope, that based on data from the field, we understand that likely signs of life have been detected at the site.
“They precisely understand the experienced personnel and tech we can help deploy… We believe they are doing everything possible with all the resources they have.”
Mr Garriot de Cayeux said they are ready to provide the UK-based Magellan’s remotely operated vehicle (ROV) that is certified to travel as deep as 6,000m.
In a statement on their website, deep water specialists Magellan said they were contacted by OceanGate on Monday and “immediately” offered knowledge of the site and expertise in operating at depth.
The company added that it has been working with UK and US agencies to move its specialist equipment and support crew to St John’s, Newfoundland, following instructions to mobilise from OceanGate.
“Magellan is 100% focused on supporting the rescue mission to recover the submersible,” the organisation said.
Meanwhile, US media outlet The Rolling Stone reported an internal US government memo said “banging” was detected by Canadian search aircraft in 30-minute intervals on Wednesday.
Chris Brown, an explorer and friend of Mr Harding, told BBC Breakfast that making “banging sounds” is “just the sort of thing I would have expected Hamish to come up with”.
Retired UK navy rear admiral Chris Parry said that without an “emitting signal” from the deep-sea vessel near the wreck site of the Titanic it will be “impossible” to find it in the timescale.
It is understood the King is being kept informed of the search efforts, as Shahzada Dawood is a long-time supporter of The Prince’s Trust International and The British Asian Trust, which are charities founded by Charles.
A former employee of OceanGate had raised concerns over “safety and quality control issues regarding the Titan to OceanGate executive management”, according to court filings.
David Lochridge, OceanGate’s former director of marine operations, claimed in the August 2018 court document he was wrongfully fired after flagging worries about the company’s alleged “refusal to conduct critical, non-destructive testing of the experimental design”.
After “issues of quality control” with Titan were raised, the filings say Mr Rush asked Mr Lochridge to conduct a “quality inspection” report on the vessel.
During this process, Mr Lochridge “identified numerous issues that posed serious safety concerns” but he was allegedly “met with hostility and denial of access” to necessary documents before later being fired.
The document claims he became concerned about a “lack of non-destructive testing performed on the hull of the Titan”, and that he “stressed the potential danger to passengers of the Titan as the submersible reached extreme depths”.
In a November 2022 episode of his Unsung Science podcast, CBS journalist David Pogue interviewed Mr Rush ahead of going on a Titan expedition to the wreckage.
In the podcast, Mr Rush told him: “You know, at some point, safety is just pure waste.
“I mean, if you just want to be safe, don’t get out of bed, don’t get in your car, don’t do anything.
“At some point, you’re going to take some risk, and it really is a risk-reward question.
“I think I can do this just as safely by breaking the rules.”
Mr Pogue said he had signed a waiver before going on the dive which allegedly said: “The experimental submersible vessel has not been approved or certified by any regulatory body” and that the trip could result in death.
OceanGate has been approached for comment.
On Tuesday, David Mearns, a deep-sea shipwreck hunter who is friends with Mr Harding and Mr Nargeolet, said he had seen reports of “tapping” being heard in the water, which he said could indicate the passengers are alive.
He told Channel 4 News: “There’s some reports that I’ve just read from my own club, which is how I know Hamish, is that somebody today has heard some tapping.