A glimmer of hope emerged on Wednesday in the search for a missing submersible that was exploring the Titanic wreck, as rescuers detected “banging” sounds coming from the area where the vessel disappeared.
According to US media reports citing internal government memos, a Canadian aircraft heard the noises at 30-minute intervals on Tuesday, and additional sonar confirmed that they were still audible four hours later.
The US Coast Guard said the sounds were being analyzed by US Navy experts and that underwater operations had been relocated to investigate the source.
The Titan submersible, operated by tourist company OceanGate, lost contact with its support vessel on Sunday, an hour and 45 minutes into its dive to the Titanic wreckage, which lies at a depth of 12,500 feet (3,800 meters).
Five people were on board the sub: They have less than 30 hours of oxygen left, according to official estimates. The submersible is sealed with external bolts, meaning that the crew cannot escape by themselves even if it resurfaces.
The search operation, involving US and Canadian agencies, navies and commercial deep-sea firms, has covered an area of 7,600 square miles (19,700 square kilometers) so far, but has not found any sign of the sub.