Rescuers searching for the submarine at Oceangate heard an unusual sound

Submarine Titan at Oceangate / Photo: Ocean Gate / Handout / AFP / Profimedia

A video from the Channel 5 documentary The Titanic Submarine Disaster: Minute by Minute includes the eerie banging sound heard by rescuers during the search for the Titan submarine.

The sound of knocking led rescuers to mistakenly believe that the people inside the submarine were still alive after the Titan lost contact with the surface.

The audio recording, which has not been released to the public until now, was given to the film's producers by the Canadian Air Force team that led the search and rescue mission for the five people aboard the submarine, which disappeared on June 18, 2023, Forbes reports. The submarine was launched that day around 8 a.m. in the Atlantic Ocean, 400 nautical miles off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada. The wreck of the Titanic is located in that place.

The documentary will be released in June on the anniversary of the tragedy in the Atlantic Ocean. The film shows details of the search operation worth more than a million dollars.

The documentary asks what can be learned from this disaster. The film also features experts who gave their opinion on what happened during the search and what sound was heard. During the search, some experts warned that the sound heard by the rescuers was probably not proof that the people inside the submarine were alive.

The search lasted four days, and reports that rescuers heard a knocking sound while searching for the submarine surfaced on the second day of the search. The Canadian Air Force told Channel 5 that the banging was heard from day one and every time the search continued.

A US Navy official during the search for the Titan told CBS News that an analysis of the sounds of the impact determined it was likely ocean noise or sounds coming from other search vessels.

Chris Parry, a former admiral of the British Royal Navy, told TV Talk that the sounds could have come from the sunken Titanic.

Former Navy submarine captain Tayan Ramsey says in the film that the sound was rhythmic.

"It might sound like someone knocking." The regularity of those beats is very unusual. It is rhythmic, as if someone is making a sound. The fact that the sound repeats is really unusual", commented Ramsey.

The sound was first recorded on June 20 around 23:30 p.m., after which the US Navy confirmed that it had detected the sounds the following morning. Coast Guard Capt. Jamie Frederick said they didn't know what it was at the time. "To be honest with you, we don't know," he said.

Jamie Pringle of Keele University believes the sounds originate from human activity. He says the ocean is a very noisy place with ships, submarines as well as search vessels.

Matthew Shank, founder of maritime search and rescue organization Marsar International, also thinks the sound is coming from people.

"There can be multiple sources of noise, the ocean floor is a noisy environment. "I think the sound could have been caused by debris from the Titan, but it could also have come from the Titanic if the ocean currents carried metal parts of the ship around," Shank said.

Professor of Marine Robotics at the University of Sydney, Stephen B. William says the sound could be caused by marine animals such as whales.

An hour and 45 minutes after the Titan fell into the ocean, it lost contact with the mother ship Polar Prince at Oceangate, which owns the submarine, and it took eight hours for the US Coast Guard to report the Titan missing. After that, the search and rescue operation for the five passengers began.

Ships from around the world set out to search, and there was hope that the passengers would be rescued before they ran out of air inside the submarine. But it was later reported that five people in the submarine had probably died. It was also reported that the US Navy's surveillance system picked up the possible sound of an implosion already during the initial descent. Although officials quickly announced that five passengers were feared dead, the search continued.

The remains of the submarine were discovered near the site of the sinking of the Titanic on June 22. 10 days after the disappearance, the Coast Guard announced that human remains had been found in the wreckage of the submarine. Washington, D.C.-based Oceangate was closed during the search.

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