A Canadian military surveillance aircraft detected underwater noises as a massive search continued early Wednesday in a remote part of the North Atlantic for a submersible that vanished while taking five people down to the wreck of the Titanic.
A statement from the U.S. Coast Guard did not elaborate on what rescuers believed the noises could be, though it offered a glimmer of hope for those lost abroad the Titan as estimates suggest as little as a day’s worth of oxygen could be left if the vessel is still functioning.
Meanwhile, questions remain about how teams could reach the lost submersible, which could be as deep as about 12,500 feet (3,800 meters) below the surface near the watery tomb of the historic ocean liner. Newly uncovered allegations also suggest there had been significant warnings made about vessel safety during its development.
Lost aboard the vessel are pilot Stockton Rush, the CEO of the company leading the expedition. His passengers are a British adventurer, two members of a Pakistani business family and a Titanic expert.
The Coast Guard wrote on Twitter that a Canadian P-3 Orion had “detected underwater noises in the search area.” Searchers then moved an underwater robot to that area to search. However, those searches “have yielded negative results but continue.”
“The data from the P-3 aircraft has been shared with our U.S. Navy experts for further analysis which will be considered in future search plans,” the Coast Guard said.
The Coast Guard statement came after Rolling Stone, citing what it described as internal U.S. Department of Homeland Security emails on the search, said that teams heard “banging sounds in the area every 30 minutes.”
In underwater disasters, a crew unable to communicate with the surface relies on banging on their submersible’s hull to be detected by sonar. However, no official has publicly suggested that’s the case and noises underwater can come from a variety of sources.