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An official with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts said during a Wednesday afternoon press conference that underwater "banging noises" have been detected in the area where teams are searching for the submersible that went missing Sunday during its trip to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean to visit the wreck of the Titanic.
But officials repeated cautions during the news conference that they aren't sure about the origins of those noises and that acoustic experts have been analyzing the "multiple reports" of such sounds.
Noises have been picked up close to where the submersible ended contact with its control ship, National Public Radio reported, adding that experts say the submersible — which is carrying five people — contains an oxygen supply that may run out early Thursday morning.
NPR added that the U.S. Coast Guard said a Canadian maritime surveillance plane detected the noises and that underwater search efforts had been moved to location of the noises — but remotely operated underwater drones had "yielded negative results."
"You have to remember that it's the wreck site of the Titanic, so there is a lot of metal and different objects in the water around the site," U.S. Coast Guard Rear Adm. John Mauger said in an interview with CBS News on Wednesday morning, according to NPR.
'Underwater noises’ detected in search area of missing submersibleyoutu.be
Due to the size and remoteness of the search area — larger than Connecticut on the surface and over 2 miles deep — efforts to locate the vessel are complicated, NPR said.
More from the outlet:
Several commercial vessels have joined the effort since Sunday, including a ship that's designed to lay pipes on the ocean floor. Combined with the resources from the Canadian and U.S. Coast Guards, at least three of the vessels on site or en route are capable of deploying remotely operated diving robots.
One Canadian Coast Guard ship on the scene, the John Cabot, has side-scanning sonar capabilities, the U.S. Coast Guard said on Wednesday.
Also en route is the Canadian Ship Glace Bay, which contains a mobile decompression chamber and is staffed with medical personnel.
The design of the submersible, called Titan, allows it to be unsealed only from the outside, NPR said, adding that passengers would need outside help to emerge from it.
The outlet said Titan lost contact with its support ship less than two hours after it first entered the water Sunday — and after it had already descended more than halfway to the wreck of the Titanic.
Those onboard the Titan include pilot Stockton Rush, the head of OceanGate, the company that developed the submersible; Paul-Henri Nargeolet, a French underwater wreck expert who has written about the Titanic and visited the wreck dozens of times; British entrepreneur Hamish Harding; and father-son Pakistani nationals Shahzada and Suleman Dawood, NPR reported.
The outlet added that a former passenger of the Titan said traveling in it was like being in a "minivan without seats" and noted that its interior design relies on "off-the-shelf parts," including a video-game controller for steering.
OceanGate offers tourists — who pay $250,000 per person — an underwater voyage to explore the remains of the Titanic after traveling 380 miles offshore and 2.4 miles below the surface, NPR said, adding that a full trip can take eight days and include multiple dives.
Here's a closer look at the submersible:
This submersible takes passengers to The Titanic wreck. Climb in!youtu.be
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Sr. Editor, News
Dave Urbanski is a senior editor for Blaze News.