Search for missing Titanic tour sub off Newfoundland coast: Live updates

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Rescuers are in a “race against time” to find the crew of the missing submersible, said David Gallo, senior adviser for Strategic Initiatives, RMS Titanic, which owns the exclusive salvage rights to the Titanic wreck site.

If the submersible is intact, those onboard would be faced with dwindling oxygen levels and fighting the cold, Gallo told CNN.

Hypothermia would be an issue “if the sub is still at the bottom, because in the deep ocean it is just above freezing cold,” Gallo said.

“One of the biggest things is where is it? Is it on the bottom, is it floating, is it mid-water? That is something that has not been determined yet … We will have to wait and see and hope for the best,” he said.

Once the submersible is located, the team could face even greater challenges in trying to rescue the crew.

“The water is very deep — 2 miles plus. It’s like a visit to another planet, it’s not what people think it is. It is a sunless, cold environment and high pressure,” Gallo said.

It’s one thing to get there, another “to understand the situation about what the problem is with the sub and then go to work to try to extricate it from that,” Gallo added.

Locating the vessel: Gallo said the surface ship should have a good idea where the submersible’s last known position was.

“A sub will not go very far. If it has gotten into trouble on the surface it might drift a bit, but on the bottom motoring — 2 miles an hour, something like that. So the search area should be small,” Gallo said.

However, that doesn’t mean locating a small submersible in such deep and expansive waters will be easy, he said.

“It means that you can focus on a very tight area and bring your sonars in, cameras in, and whatever you need to do into that area to try to locate the sub,” Gallo said. “So it’s not like looking for a huge area of the sea floor.”


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