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Frantic rescue workers searching for the missing Titan submersible have reportedly detected banging sounds in 30-minute intervals near where the divers went missing.
The OceanGate Expeditions submarine went missing on Sunday while on its way to view wreckage from the Titanic.
“RCC Halifax launched a P8, Poseidon, which has underwater detection capabilities from the air,” said an internal e-mail update sent by the Department of Homeland Security.
Rolling Stone first reported on the internal DHS memo.
“The P8 deployed sonobuoys, which reported a contact in a position close to the distress position,” the update said. “The P8 heard banging sounds in the area every 30 minutes. Four hours later additional sonar was deployed and banging was still heard.”
Canadian officials on board a specialized aircraft were the ones that detected the banging underwater. The news comes as there is less than 30 hours of breathable air left.
The message added that “the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre is working to find an underwater remote-operated vehicle through partner organizations to possibly assist.”
The publication added that the president of the Explorers Society said in a message late on Tuesday: “It is being reported that at 2 a.m. local time on site that sonar detected potential ‘tapping sounds’ at the location, implying crew may be alive and signaling.” The Boston Coast Guard, which is leading the rescue efforts, did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the reported tapping sounds.
OceanGate Expeditions says on its website that the vessel has a 96-hour life support system for a crew of five. The Titan weighs 23,000 pounds and can reach a depth of nearly 2.5 miles underwater, which is about the depth of the Titanic’s wreckage on the Atlantic Ocean’s floor about 370 miles off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada.
Featuring a viewport window on one end, the Titan is roughly the size of a van and can work with smaller, commercially available ships, Oceangate says. It does not require a “man-rated crane or A-frame” for launch and recovery.
Oceangate says the Titan has “pressure vessel material” made of carbon fiber and titanium. The vessel can move at a speed of up to 3 knots with four electric thrusters. Integrated technology features include sonar equipment, a laser scanner, lights, and cameras. The Titan attaches itself to a launch and recovery platform that can sink by filling tanks with water and return to the surface in two minutes by filling ballast tanks with air.
This report has been updated to include additional information.