Small submersible tourist vessel on dive to Titanic wreck goes missing, search under way: Reports

It was not known if any tourists were onboard. The Guardian newspaper reports there were five people on the vessel.
Wreckage of RMS Titanic. (File Photo)
Wreckage of RMS Titanic. (File Photo)

WASHINGTON: A submersible vessel used to take tourists to see the wreckage of the Titanic in the North Atlantic has gone missing, triggering a search-and-rescue operation, media reports said Monday.

It was not immediately known how many people are on the vessel, operated by a company called OceanGate Expeditions.

The US Coast Guard did not respond to AFP requests for comment but other news organizations including the BBC and The New York Times quoted it as saying a search operation for the missing vessel has been launched.

On its website the company says an expedition to the Titanic site was "currently underway."

In a statement quoted by CBS News and others, OceanGate Expeditions said: "Our entire focus is on the crewmembers in the submersible and their families."

It was not known if any tourists were onboard.

The Guardian newspaper said there were five people on the vessel.

OceanGate was not immediately reachable.

In the statement it added that it was "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."

The Titanic hit an iceberg and sank in 1912 during its maiden voyage from England to New York with 2,224 passengers and crew on board. More than 1,500 people died in the tragedy.

The wreckage is in two main pieces 400 miles off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada, under 12,500 feet (3,800 meters) of water. It was found in 1985 and remains a source of fascination and a lure for nautical experts and underwater tourists.

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