A major search and rescue operation continues for the submarine vessel that was first reported missing over the weekend.
The submarine, named Titan, was reportedly on a mission to explore the wreck of the Titanic when it disappeared on Sunday evening roughly 435 miles south of St John’s in Newfoundland, Canada.
Hamish Harding, a British billionaire and a Guinness World Record holder who set records for the longest distance covered at the bottom of the ocean and for his 2021 descent to the Mariana Trench, is one of the five people onboard the missing vessel.
Colonel Terry Virts, a retired NASA astronaut and a friend of the missing Harding, has since shared the last text he received from the billionaire ahead of the Titanic mission.
“Hey, we’re headed out tomorrow, it looks good, the weather’s been bad so they’ve been waiting for this,” Harding reportedly texted Virts over the weekend.
Virts also spoke about his and Harding’s friendship and the risks that come with the dangerous submarine explorations that the British billionaire loves doing.
“We don’t really talk about risks, it’s known,” Virts said on Tuesday, according to Daily Mail. “He understood the risks for sure, there’s no doubt about that.”
“He went down to the deepest part of the ocean, set a few world records at the Mariana Trench, and we talked quite a bit about the risks and the different things that they were going to be able to do,” the retired NASA astronaut continued. “So he was very excited about it.”
Meanwhile, OceanGate Expeditions – the company that owns the missing submarine – said its current focus is on the five individuals onboard the vessel and their families.
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The search and rescue operation is reportedly being led by the U.S. Coast Guard and involves military aircraft 900 miles east of Cape Cod, Daily Mail reporter.
The Canadian research vessels Polar Prince and 106 Rescue Wing are also reportedly continuing to conduct surface searches, while two C-130 flights were sent to search for the missing submarine.
The vessel can reportedly dive up to 13,120ft below sea level, according to a court document filed by OceanGate in April. It also weighs approximately 20,000 lbs. and is made of titanium and filament wound carbon fiber.
The U.S. Coast Guard also announced this week that they fear the missing submarine only has enough oxygen to last until 12 PM on Thursday.