The Coast Guard gave an update Wednesday on the search for the missing Titan submersible that stopped responding during an expedition to the Titanic wreckage. A Canadian P-3 plane that was using sonar buoys heard underwater sounds which US Navy experts are now analyzing. Crews have been searching the area of the noise on Wednesday in a remote part of the North Atlantic.
There may be as little as a day’s worth of oxygen left on the vessel if it remains intact.
Deep-sea experts told the BBC that it is hard to determine what these noises might be without seeing the data – and the commander leading the search also confirmed the source was unknown. Chris Brown, an explorer, and friend of one of the crew, said he believed the reported sounds could be them.
“If you made a continuous noise, that’s not going to get picked up, but doing it every 30 minutes, that suggests humans,” he told the BBC. “I’m sure they’re all conserving oxygen and energy because it’s cold and dark down there.”
Assisting a submarine that has encountered an issue can be challenging due to several factors:
- Underwater Environment: Submarines operate in a hostile and challenging environment underwater. The depth, pressure, and lack of visibility pose significant obstacles for rescue and repair operations. Accessing and reaching a distressed submarine can be difficult, especially in deep-sea scenarios.
- Limited Communication: Communication with a submarine can be limited or non-existent when it is submerged. While submarines are equipped with advanced communication systems, they heavily rely on radio signals or acoustic technologies to establish contact with the surface. Factors like water depth, distance, and interference can impede effective communication, making it harder to coordinate rescue efforts.
- Self-Reliance: Submarines are designed to be self-sufficient for extended periods. They carry their own supplies, including food, water, and air. This self-reliance is essential for their primary mission of extended underwater operations. However, it also means that submarines have limited external dependencies, making it harder to provide immediate assistance from the surface.
- Safety Considerations: Submarine rescues are intricate operations that involve significant risks for both the distressed crew and the rescuers. The complexity of conducting a rescue in an underwater environment, combined with the potential for hazardous situations like fires, flooding, or damage to the hull, makes it crucial to carefully plan and execute rescue missions to ensure the safety of everyone involved.
- Specialized Expertise: Submarine operations require specialized knowledge and training. Only a limited number of naval personnel and specialized teams possess the necessary expertise to handle submarine emergencies. These individuals often need to undergo extensive training and possess specific equipment to conduct successful rescues or repairs.
Given these challenges, submarine incidents require careful assessment, strategic planning, and the involvement of trained professionals and specialized equipment to ensure the safety and successful resolution of the situation.