Toxic Gases and Claustrophobia: Challenges Faced by Titanic Sub-Five as they cling to help

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T.The search for the submarine carrying five people who went missing on their way to see the wreckage of the Titanic continues Wednesday, as more ships and planes join the rescue effort in the United States and Canada.

The Titan submarine, operated by Oceangate Expeditions, has been taking paying passengers on tours of the crumbling wreckage of the doomed ocean liner since 2021, but on Sunday afternoon the pursuit vessel Polar A desperate race erupts after losing contact with Prince. Collect before the internal air supply runs out.

The company’s founder, Stockton Rush, includes billionaire British explorer Hamish Harding, noted French diver Paul-Henri Narjolet, Pakistani businessman Shazada Dawood, and his son. Sulaiman Dawood and others were part of the crew when the submarine disappeared.

Follow us for updates on the missing Titanic submarine here.

Ocean Gate’s Titan Sightseeing Submarine

(Oceangate Expeditions/Pennsylvania)

More than 10,000 square miles of the North Atlantic have been searched so far, according to the U.S. Coast Guard, and on Tuesday there were reports of regular “tricks” being picked up by sonar, and the crew was alive. , brought new hope that Titan might still exist. Found.

Friends of the missing man are trying to stay positive, businessman Oisin Fanning told BBC Radio 4. today “There’s a very good chance they’ll be found,” he said on Wednesday morning’s show. He said Rush and Nargiolet were “consummate professionals” who fully understood the reality of their plight, and urged fellow passengers “not to panic.”

“If I’m in trouble, I’d love to go on a submarine with them,” Fanning said. “They end up conserving energy from day one. So they know exactly what to do, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the behavior lasted longer.”

More pessimistic about the prospects for survival was retired British Rear Admiral Chris Parry, who would have been “impossible” to find him in such a limited time without “signals” from the ship. Deaf and told LBC.

“Unfortunately, I think it’s extremely unlikely,” he said. “Of course, we want to remain hopeful and optimistic, but there are two issues here: actually finding the object, and how the hell did we get it off the ocean floor? It’s never been done before and I don’t think anyone has an idea how to do that at the moment.”

A scientific paper published late last month about how the five survived on board offers grim insight into the toll the ordeal could take on survivors.

Rescue team searching for submersible tourist boat

(American Photo Archive/Alamy/PA)


“Crews trapped in sunken ships and submarines face many physiological problems, including toxic fumes, elevated ambient pressure, and hypothermia,” said Dale D. Dr. Mohr said in his paper.about the matter Siottone Disaster Medicinewas published on May 29.

“Whenever possible, rescue is prioritized over escape. National and international governments and organizations should develop robust and credible search and rescue response plans that are implemented on a regular basis. , not only must be an integral part of any rescue team, but they must also be familiar with the unique qualities of maritime medicine.”

toxic gas

Dr. Moret explained that the main danger was gradual suffocation from a lack of oxygen supply, and official estimates at the time of this writing put the Titan crew at 1. It is said that there are only days left.

Most small craft have built-in carbon dioxide scrubbers to extract toxic gases from the air, but their capabilities are likely to be limited, especially on small submarines like the Titan, and such devices can fail completely if the battery runs out of power. Interrupted or spent.

panic attack

The psychological ramifications of this situation include increased claustrophobia, which can lead to increased heart rate, light-headedness, nausea, and panic attacks, causing patients to hyperventilate and further reduce their already limited oxygen. It can take a heavy toll. Supply internally.

Four people aboard the Titan go missing.Clockwise from top left: Hamish Harding, Stockton Rush, Paul-Henri Narjolet, Shazada Dawood


In addition, cold temperatures are prevalent in the deep ocean outside, which can cause submarine crews to experience hypothermia, causing shivering, loss of sensation in their limbs, and poor judgment, although this has been postponed for some time. increase. At least due to the internal heat given off by their bodies and on-board electronics (although in Titan’s case this is intentionally kept to a minimum).

“Most people may think of oxygen when humans are confined in an enclosed space, but carbon dioxide is actually a bigger concern,” Dr Moret said. daily mail.

“People inside will find it difficult to breathe, their breathing will become deeper, they will have headaches, and they will gradually lose consciousness.

“It’s not the level of oxygen that kills you first when you’re in an enclosed environment, it’s the level of carbon dioxide that rises.”

loss of consciousness

Dr Moret said the effects of the lack of oxygen were “like putting a bag on your head” and would eventually lead to unconsciousness.

“Keep as calm as possible and turn off as many electrical devices as possible to conserve battery power and ensure the scrubber has enough energy,” he advised.

Titan preparing to test launch from underwater platform

(Ocean Gate/YouTube)

Writer indie voice Submarine crew member David Bessel said this week that crew members were anxiously awaiting rescue in a race against time “with nothing but their own thoughts and desperate hopes for their comrades.” I can’t imagine what would have happened if he hadn’t passed away already,” he added. It resonates with passengers and crew. “

All of the potential health effects mentioned by Dr Moret are premised on stable conditions inside the submarine.

As Vessel suggests, the opposite was true, and had the ship’s integrity been compromised, those inside would most likely have died instantly.

Eric Fusil, an associate professor and head of the shipbuilding hub at the University of Adelaide in Australia, said several factors that could have caused such consequences, including blackouts, fires, floods and entanglement with another object in the sea. scenarios are outlined. .

He said the fire could cripple the ship’s systems and produce toxic fumes that could knock the crew unconscious. Flooding would be even more dramatic, with near-instantaneous implosion.


Fusil said the most optimistic scenario would be that a power loss would cause the ship to return to the surface and wait for a search party to find it.

“The important thing is that going into space and rescuing people is easier than diving deep and rescuing people because we can’t communicate easily,” he said. “Even with today’s technology, it’s still a very risky endeavor.”

British diver Dik Burton told ITV, highlighting the severity of the ice surrounding the Titanic wreck. good morning england: “This is a very, very dangerous and hostile place. There are localized tides of water that move around, but they are not constant. The strength of submarines is relatively limited.

“Thrusters are very powerful, but they are life support systems and navigation systems, so at the end of the day, you have to conserve power.”

Like Fanning, Burton pinned his hopes on Nargiolet’s expertise and experience to see through to his colleagues. “He will definitely do everything he can to make sure everyone is calm and awaiting recovery.”

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