(NEW YORK) — A submersible with five people aboard has gone missing while on a tour of the wreckage of the Titanic off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada, according to officials.
The Coast Guard said the 21-foot submersible went underwater Sunday morning, and lost contact about 1 hour and 45 minutes later.
The Coast Guard was notified Sunday afternoon that the vessel belonging to the deep sea exploring company OceanGate was overdue, and crews immediately launched search and rescue operations, Rear Adm. John Mauger, U.S. Coast Guard 1st District commander, said at a news conference Monday.
The vessel was designed to have 96 hours of oxygen available, he said.
The search is taking place in remote waters about 13,000 feet deep, Mauger said.
“It is a challenge to conduct a search in that remote area, but we are deploying all available assets to make sure that we can locate the craft and rescue the people on board,” Mauger said.
OceanGate confirmed Monday that it lost contact with a submersible.
“We are exploring and mobilizing all options to bring the crew back safely. Our entire focus is on the crewmembers in the submersible and their families,” OceanGate said in a statement. “We are working toward the safe return of the crewmembers.”
OceanGate’s website says it offers paying customers the opportunity to explore the wreckage of the Titanic.
One of the passengers was Hamish Harding, who worked for the sales company Action Aviation, a colleague told ABC News.
“This is on the site of a wreckage, the wreckage of the Titanic, and so there’s a lot of debris on the bottom, and locating an object on the bottom will be difficult,” Mauger told Fox News on Monday.
“We have lives that are potentially at risk,” he said.
On April 14, 1912, the Titanic hit an iceberg on its maiden voyage from England to New York. Over 2,200 passengers and crew were on board, and more than 1,500 people died when the ship sank.
The ship wreckage was found in 1985, almost 12,500 feet below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean.
ABC News’ Miles Cohen, Josh Hoyos, Alex Faul and Nadine El-Bawab contributed to this report.
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