September 24, 2023

(NewsNation) — British billionaire Hamish Harding is confirmed to be one of many 5 folks aboard a submersible watercraft misplaced at sea.

Owned by OceanGate Expeditions, the Titan started its dive into the Atlantic Ocean on Sunday morning and hasn’t surfaced. The craft has 5 folks aboard and was going to view the wreckage of the Titanic.

Jannicke Mikkelsen, a good friend and colleague of Harding, says Harding is an “explorer at coronary heart” and she or he hopes he’s OK.

“This was yet one more objective on his guidelines of what he needed to discover down right here on Earth, and likewise in house,” Mikkelsen mentioned Monday on “CUOMO.” “Titanic was one of many massive excessive factors that he needed to attain in his life.”

The U.S. Coast Guard and Canadian authorities initiated a seek for the vessel Monday, a day after it misplaced contact with the analysis boat it was speaking with on the floor. There was a 96-hour oxygen provide for the crew of 5 when it launched, giving rescuers roughly till Thursday morning to find them.

“My largest worry is (if) they’re trapped with out the flexibility of receiving assist. There isn’t any one who can attain him on the backside and — that is terrifying,” Mikkelsen mentioned.

OceanGate’s expeditions to the Titanic wreck web site embrace archaeologists and marine biologists. The corporate additionally brings individuals who pay to come back alongside, often known as “mission specialists.” They take turns working sonar tools and performing different duties within the five-person submersible. The Coast Guard mentioned Monday that there was one pilot and 4 “mission specialists” aboard.

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One of many mission specialists is Harding, a billionaire adventurer who holds three Guinness World Information, together with the longest period at full ocean depth by a crewed vessel. In March 2021, he and ocean explorer Victor Vescovo dived to the bottom depth of the Mariana Trench. In June 2022, he went into house on Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket.

The Titan is made from “titanium and filament wound carbon fiber” and has confirmed to “face up to the large pressures of the deep ocean,” OceanGate has acknowledged of the vessel’s security.

In a Could 2021 courtroom submitting, OceanGate mentioned the Titan had an “unparalleled security characteristic” that assesses the integrity of the hull all through each dive.

Mikkelsen mentioned Harding would have identified and accepted any dangers related to the dive.

“Each single expedition is harmful, and that’s one thing that Hamish taught me. He’s the rationale why I began my expedition profession, as nicely,” Mikkelsen mentioned. “Each expedition has the opportunity of demise, completely, and Hamish is aware of the danger of each single expedition he begins.”

Mikkelsen is grateful for the search efforts underway by U.S. and Canadian authorities that she hopes will yield constructive outcomes.

“Hamish is a detailed good friend, his household are shut associates, and Hamish is the rationale why … I began my expedition profession. I owe so much to Hamish,” she mentioned. “I hope he’s OK. I hope his crew members are OK they usually resurface.”

The Related Press contributed to this report.

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