5 Missing Including Famed Explorer As Authorities Race To Find Missing Titanic Submersible

[Screenshot/YouTube/WFLA News Channel 8]

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Search and rescue officials are racing against the clock to find a submersible vessel carrying five people that disappeared on a tourist dive to the Titanic wreck site Sunday.

The United States Coast Guard (USCG) verified June 19 that a five-person crew was aboard the 21-foot submersible that went missing one hour and forty-five minutes into its dive to the Titanic wreckage. Among the missing members is famed explorer Hamish Harding who announced Saturday on Facebook that he would be joining OceanGate Expeditions as a mission specialist for the Titanic dive. (RELATED: Titanic Tourist Sub Disappears In Atlantic: REPORT)

“Our entire focus is on the crewmembers in the submersible and their families,” OceanGate said in a statement on Twitter. “We are exploring and mobilizing all options to bring the crew back safely.”

Rear Admiral John Mauger of the USCG said at a Monday afternoon press conference that the Coast Guard is doing everything it can do to locate and rescue those on board the vessel.

The submersible used to make the dive, known as the Titan, carried three paying guests, Harding and a pilot with enough oxygen to last four days, BBC News reported. The trip to the Titanic wreck site, which lies 12,500 feet beneath the surface, and back typically takes a total of eight hours to complete, the outlet continued.

David Pogue, a CBS reporter who travelled in the Titan submersible last year, explained that communication is already limited on the submersible as neither GPS nor radio “work under water.”

“When the support ship is directly over the sub, they can send short text messages back and forth. Clearly those are no longer getting a response,” Pogue told BBC News. Pogue also emphasized the importance of finding the vessel, telling the outlet that the passengers and crew are sealed inside by bolts applied from the outside, meaning they could not escape the sub even if they manage to surface on their own.

OceanGate expressed its appreciation and gratitude for the “extensive assistance” from multiple government agencies as they work together toward a safe return for all of those onboard.