The French search team said the Titan’s oxygen will run out on Thursday night and explained the meaning of the recorded sounds.

Rescue teams are in a race against time to find the submersible Titanwith capacity for five people, which vanished on its descent towards the centennial wreck of the Titanic, as it the ship’s oxygen reserves could be depleted in less than two daysas stated on Wednesday by a representative of a French institution that sends a robot for the rescue.

The head of naval operations at the French Institute for Research in Ocean Sciences (Ifremer), Olivier Lefort, told Reuters in an interview that it is “imperative” that search teams find the submersible before Friday.

United States Coast Guard ships in the search operation

“The limit in terms of oxygen reserves and soda lime would be around 96 hours, so roughly that brings us to Thursday night.”, he explained, although he added that the presence of two experts on board would help dosing tasks to optimize breathing possibilities.

Regarding the reports of the detected noises, he reviewed: “According to the reports, muffled beeps were heard every 30 minutes more or less, but we have to be extremely careful. We know that there may be detections that seem good to us but that are not. But it’s true that The fact that these noises are heard every 30 minutes, that they appear to be of low frequency, that is, shock noises that can propagate to the surface, is important.”.

“In the water column, the acoustic propagation is not very good, so this type of noise, when someone hits a metallic structure, that will be heard in the water and quite far away, thank God. But then I imagine, since these are US Navy tools that have heard these noises, that they are able to analyze them, to see if there is a form of recurrence, if it is a regular noise or if it is a noise that is of the shock type and that will give an indication of whether it is indeed a manual shock”, he added.

In the search collaboration, a French robot capable of reaching depths of 6,000 meters He was heading to the Titanic wreck site to help rescue the tourist submersible.

The French research vessel was sent to the area at the request of the US Navy and was expected to arrive late on Wednesday, the Ifremer reported.

Search patterns used in the search for 21-foot submersible Titan after it went missing 900 miles east of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, June 20, 2023. (US Coast Guard)
US Coast Guard search patterns in the area of ​​the disappearance of the submersible

The unmanned robot, called Victor 6000, is the only underwater equipment capable of reaching depths of 6,000 meters that will be on site, Lefor said. It could help hook the sub to another ship tasked with hoisting the ship back to the surface.

The Ifremer, financed by the State, is one of the few institutions in the world that has equipment capable of submerging to such depths. He was part of the team that successfully carried out the 1985 RMS Titanic wreck location operation with American underwater archaeologist Robert Ballard.

(infographic: Marcelo Regalado)
(infographic: Marcelo Regalado)

French explorer Paul-Henri Nargeolet, 77, who is believed to have been aboard the submersible that disappeared, worked at Ifremer and piloted its flagship submarine Nautile, used to examine the wreckage of the Titanic.

“Beyond the fact that Paul-Henri Nargeolet could be on board, the immediate reaction from all of our teams was to say: ‘We’re close, we have to go,’” Lefort said.

He said the robot was operated by a crew of 25 aboard the Atalante ship, who could work around the clock in rotating shifts.

The robot and crew will be used under the supervision of the US Navy. Lefort said he had no more details than were publicly known about whether the people on board were still alive, but that everything possible had to be done to save them.

(With information from Reuters)

Keep reading:

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“Possible extreme danger”: what happened to the 2018 alerts about the risks that the passengers of the Titan submersible would run