According to the Coast Guard, the craft submerged Sunday morning. [Representational image] Ralph White/Gettyimages

On Monday, a rescue mission was initiated in the depths of the Atlantic Ocean to locate a cutting-edge submersible vessel that was carrying five individuals tasked with documenting the remains of the Titanic, the legendary ocean liner that sank over a hundred years ago.

According to the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the vessel was reported as overdue on Sunday night, located approximately 435 miles (700 kilometers) south of St. John's, Newfoundland.

The search operation is being led by the U.S. Coast Guard in Boston, with support from a Canadian Coast Guard vessel and military aircraft.

Rear Adm. John Mauger of the U.S. Coast Guard stated that additional resources would be arriving in the coming days to assist in the search efforts.

"It is a remote area — and it is a challenge to conduct a search in that remote area," he said. "But we are deploying all available assets to make sure we can locate the craft and rescue the people on board."

According to the Coast Guard, the deep-sea craft submerged on Sunday morning, and the Canadian research icebreaker Polar Prince, its support vessel, lost contact with it approximately one hour and 45 minutes later.

The Polar Prince will continue conducting surface searches throughout the evening, while Canadian P8 Poseidon aircraft will resume surface and subsurface searches in the morning, as stated by the Coast Guard on Twitter.

The submersible was operated by OceanGate Expeditions.

David Concannon, an advisor to OceanGate, mentioned that the submersible had a 96-hour oxygen supply, starting from around 6 a.m. on Sunday. Concannon explained via email to The Associated Press that he was originally scheduled to be on the dive but couldn't make it due to another commitment with a client.

He further added that efforts were underway to deploy a remotely operated vehicle capable of reaching a depth of 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) to the location as soon as possible.

OceanGate said its focus was on those aboard and their families.

"We are deeply thankful for the extensive assistance we have received from several government agencies and deep-sea companies in our efforts to reestablish contact with the submersible," it said in a statement.

According to Action Aviation, a company for which he serves as chairman, Hamish Harding, a U.K. businessman, was one of the mission specialists involved in the deep-sea exploration.

The company's managing director, Mark Butler, told the AP that the crew set out on Friday.

"There is still plenty of time to facilitate a rescue mission, there is equipment on board for survival in this event," Butler said. "We're all hoping and praying he comes back safe and sound."

CBS journalist David Pogue, who went on the trip last year, noted his vessel got turned around looking for the Titanic.

"There's no GPS underwater, so the surface ship is supposed to guide the sub to the shipwreck by sending text messages," Pogue said in a segment aired on CBS Sunday Morning. "But on this dive, communications somehow broke down. The sub never found the wreck."

The submersible utilized in the mission, called Titan, has the capability to dive up to 4 kilometers (2.4 miles) with a sufficient safety margin, as stated by OceanGate in a court filing.

While its weight is 20,000 pounds (9,072 kilograms) in the air, the submersible is ballasted to achieve neutral buoyancy once it reaches the seafloor, according to OceanGate.

OceanGate highlighted that the Titan is constructed using titanium and filament wound carbon fiber, enabling it to endure the immense pressures of the deep ocean. The company also asserted that the submersible features the largest viewport among all deep-diving submersibles, providing an unrivaled view of the deep ocean.

In a court filing from May 2021, OceanGate emphasized that the Titan possesses an unparalleled safety feature that continuously assesses the hull's integrity during each dive.

According to OceanGate, at the time of the court filing, the Titan had successfully completed over 50 test dives, which included dives to the depth equivalent to that of the Titanic. These test dives were conducted in deep waters off the Bahamas as well as in a pressure chamber.

During the 2022 expedition, OceanGate reported a battery issue with the submersible on its initial dive. As a result, the submersible had to be manually attached to its lifting platform, as detailed in a court filing from November.

"In the high sea state, the submersible sustained modest damage to its external components and OceanGate decided to cancel the second mission for repairs and operational enhancements," the filing stated.

Alistair Greig, a professor of marine engineering at University College London, said submersibles typically have a drop weight, which is "a mass they can release in the case of an emergency to bring them up to the surface using buoyancy."

"If there was a power failure and/or communication failure, this might have happened, and the submersible would then be bobbing about on the surface waiting to be found," Greig said.

Another scenario is a leak in the pressure hull, in which case the prognosis is not good, he said.

"If it has gone down to the seabed and can't get back up under its own power, options are very limited," Greig said. "While the submersible might still be intact, if it is beyond the continental shelf, there are very few vessels that can get that deep, and certainly not divers."

There are doubts regarding the feasibility of attaching to the hatch of OceanGate's submersible, even if the search operation manages to reach the extreme depths involved.

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