‘Banging’ noise detected in search area for missing sub near Titanic, but still no sign of vessel

Searchers detected what was described as a “banging” noise late Tuesday and before dawn Wednesday in the North Atlantic hunt for a submersible vessel and its five-man crew.

The craft lost contact with the surface shortly after setting out Sunday to visit the deep-sea wreckage of the Titanic.

U.S. Coast Guard Captain Jamie Frederick said during a Wednesday press conference that a Canadian P-3 surveillance plane first detected the noises.

Resources that can scour the area underseas have been focused on that location since then in hopes of finding the Titan, the missing 21-foot tourism and research submersible.

“The noises have been described as ‘banging noises,’ but again, they have to put the whole picture together in context and they have to eliminate potential manmade sources other than the Titan,” Carl Hartsfield, an expert from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution who was recruited to help with the search effort, told reporters at the press conference.

Mr. Hartsfield said sea life can also make noises that can throw off search efforts.

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Experts are analyzing the noises to see if they give any indication about the vessel’s whereabouts as oxygen aboard the Titan is running dangerously low. Authorities expect the vessel’s air supply to be depleted by 6 a.m. Thursday morning.  

Capt. Frederick said that debris was found in the search area — which has been expanded to be twice the size of Connecticut — but that none of the objects found correlated with Titan.

The Coast Guard officer also assured reporters that the search, and hope to find the vessel, is still very much alive.

“This is a search rescue mission — 100%,” Capt. Frederick said. “We are smack dab in the middle of search and rescue and we’ll continue to put every available asset that we have to find the Titan.”