Officials said around midday Thursday that debris has been found in the search area for missing submersible Titan in the Atlantic Ocean. The search continued into its fourth full day on Thursday as some additional U.S., French and Canadian military assets arrive.
The Coast Guard plans to host a news conference at 3 p.m. ET to discuss the findings.
“A debris field was discovered within the search area by an ROV near the Titanic. Experts within the unified command are evaluating the information,” the U.S. Coast Guard Northeast tweeted.
The debris field could be evidence of the destroyed vessel.
According to estimates by Coast Guard officials, the air supply inside Titan was expected to run out around 6 a.m. ET Thursday. However, officials have said the timeline is an estimate.
“The oxygen, that’s just one piece of data,” said Coast Guard Capt. Jamie Frederick. “There are a lot of data that we need to consider, and we are continuously looking at that, and we’ll continuously do that throughout the search.”
As of Wednesday afternoon, the search area involved an area twice the size of Connecticut. Officials are conducting searches on the surface and bottom of the ocean.
The submersible was set to explore the Titanic shipwreck, which sits 2.5 miles below the ocean surface. Each square inch of surface area at that depth absorbs thousands of pounds of pressure. It is also dark and cold at the bottom of the ocean.
The sub lost contact with a surface-based vessel less than two hours into its voyage. It has yet to be seen or heard from since Sunday.
The Coast Guard says five people are inside.
To help find the sub, searchers have used sonar and listening devices. On both Tuesday and Wednesday, aircraft picked up a “banging” noise coming from below the surface. Frederick said it was “inconclusive” what the noise was, but crews have focused their search in the area.
The Coast Guard has sent a recording of the noises to the Navy for analysis.
The Navy is also bringing in a Flyaway Deep Ocean Salvage System “to provide reliable deep ocean lifting capacity for the recovery of large, bulky, and heavy undersea objects such as aircraft or small vessels.”
On Wednesday, Frederick said the mission remained “search and rescue.” He added that he remains hopeful.
“We hope that when we’re able to get additional ROVs to be there in the morning, the intent will be to continue to search in those areas where the noise was detected, and if they are continuing to be detected and then put additional ROVs down in the last known position where the searches are originally taking place,” Frederick said.
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