Missing Titanic Sub: Banging Sounds Heard by Aircraft, Report Says

missing titanic sub

Getty A press conference for the missing Titanic sub.

“Banging” sounds were heard from the location where the missing Titanic sub disappeared, according to a report from Rolling Stone.

CNN reported that a second internal U.S. government update on Tuesday night “suggested more sounds were heard,” and indicated “continued hope of survivors.”

However, that hope vanished on June 22, 2023.

The Coast Guard and OceanGate say the five men died when the submersible faced catastrophic failure. “We now believe that our CEO Stockton Rush, Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman Dawood, Hamish Harding, and Paul-Henri Nargeolet, have sadly been lost,” the company said in a statement to CNN.

Rear Admiral John Mauger said in a news conference on June 22, 2023, that a remote-operated vehicle discovered the tail cone of the Titan lying 1,600 feet from the bow of the Titanic on the sea floor. “The degree is consistent with the catastrophic loss of the pressure chamber,” Mauger said.

There doesn’t appear to be any connection to the noises heard earlier and the debris field, according to Mauger.

“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 tweeted on June 22, 2023. BBC reported, according to a friend of passengers, that it was a landing frame and rear cover of the Titan submersible.

On the evening of June 20, 2023, the U.S. Coast Guard confirmed the report, although the agency called the sounds “underwater noises,” tweeting, “Canadian P-3 aircraft detected underwater noises in the search area. As a result, ROV operations were relocated in an attempt to explore the origin of the noises. Those ROV searches have yielded negative results but continue.”

Additionally, the Coast Guard continues, “the data from the P-3 aircraft has been shared with our U.S. Navy experts for further analysis which will be considered in future search plans.”

Richard Garriott de Cayeux, president of The Explorers Club, wrote in a June 20, 2023, statement, “We have much greater confidence that 1) There is cause for hope, based on data from the field – we understand that likely signs of life have been detected at the site.”

The Explorers Club is a non-profit organization “founded in New York City in 1904,” which “promotes the scientific exploration of land, sea,” its Facebook page says. Missing billionaire Hamish Harding is a founding member of the club’s Board of Trustees, the club wrote in another statement.

The reports come as time is running out for the five explorers who embarked on a Titanic shipwreck visit inside the “Titan” submersible, which disappeared on Sunday, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

In a June 20, 2023, article by journalists Andrea Marks and Jana Winter, Rolling Stone reported that the banging sounds were detected by a Canadian aircraft that is involved in the hunt for the missing OceanGate sub.

CNN also reported on the banging sounds, which the network said were heard on Tuesday.

U.S. Coast Guard Captain Jamie Frederick, whose division is overseeing search efforts, said in a June 20, 2023, press conference that the OceanGate submersible has about 40 hours of “breathable air” left inside the vessel. He made the comments late in the morning of Tuesday, June 20, 2023.

“We will do everything in our power to effect a rescue,” Frederick said, when asked whether the sub could be retrieved if it is located.

Here’s what you need to know:

The Banging Sounds Were Heard in ’30-Minute Intervals,’ the Report Says

According to the Rolling Stone article, the sounds were heard in “30-minute intervals” emanating from the area where communication with the submersible suddenly stopped.

The revelation came in an internal e-mail update sent to the Department of Homeland Security, Rolling Stone reported.

Rolling Stone quoted the e-mail as saying,

RCC Halifax launched a P8, Poseidon, which has underwater detection capabilities from the air. The P8 deployed sonobuoys, which reported a contact in a position close to the distress position. The P8 heard banging sounds in the area every 30 minutes. Four hours later, additional sonar was deployed and banging was still heard.

According to Rolling Stone, it’s not clear when exactly the banging sounds were heard or what they were.

CNN reported that a Canadian P3 aircraft “also located a white rectangular object in the water,” a government update said, but the ship sent to investigate it was “diverted to help research the acoustic feedback instead.”

An email from the president of the research group The Explorers Society, seen by Rolling Stone, described the banging sounds as “tapping,” the magazine reported, adding that government agencies declined to comment. It’s not clear whether Rolling Stone’s reference to Explorers “Society” is the Explorers Club.

The missing submersible’s passengers are OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush; Titanic expert P.H. Nargeolet; father and son Shahzada Dawood and his son, Suleman Dawood; and billionaire adventurer Hamish Harding.

The Explorers Club President Says the Group Believes Officials Are Doing ‘Everything Possible’ to Find the Submersible

According to Garriott de Cayeux’s statement, “members of The Explorers Club far and wide rallied today to make sure the Titanic expedition search and rescue team is fully aware of the capabilities and experience club members and affiliates are ready to provide, in particular the Uk-based Magellan’s 6,000 meter certified ROVs, which have been at the Titanic site many times. This extraordinary membership never cease to amaze.”

He added: “We are so grateful for the U.S. Coast Guard, and other international teams and commercial operators doing everything they can to help find the Titanic expedition submersible.”

He listed several other reasons the club has “much greater confidence,” including that officials “precisely understand the experienced personnel and tech we can help deploy,” and because “we believe they are doing everything possible with all resources they have” and “we now have direct lines to the highest levels of Congress, The Coast Guard, Air Force, Navy and The White House, thanks to your support.”

In a Press Conference, the U.S. Coast Guard Described Search Efforts But Did Not Mention Any Banging Sounds

Frederick, whose division is overseeing search efforts, said in a June 20, 2023, press conference that five people were on board the missing OceanGate submersible.

He said Coast Guard crews were working “around the clock” to locate the crew. He said the search effort required specialized equipment and expertise, but the Coast Guard did not possess those things on its own. He did not mention anything about banging sounds, and he was not asked about it because the Rolling Stone report came out after the news conference.

Frederick described the sub’s disappearance as a “very complex problem.”

On Sunday, the Coast Guard in Boston was contacted about the missing sub for the first time, Frederick said, indicating the search efforts were concentrated 400 miles south of Newfoundland. He said the sub disappeared 1 hour and 45 minutes into its scheduled dive off the Polar Prince vessel.

The vessel lost contact with the Titan sub, according to Frederick, who said the Polar Prince initially conducted a search on its own to no avail.

He said the Coast Guard coordinated search efforts and searched 7,600 square miles, an area larger than the State of Connecticut. They have found nothing. and search efforts are continuing, Frederick said.

A vessel with underwater ROV capability has arrived on scene, he said, and has commenced a dive at the last known position of the Titan, according to Frederick, who said it has a camera. A Canadian aircraft is conducting a search of the area, he did confirm.

A Coast Guard press release listed the vessels searching for the sub.

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