The entire world has been mesmerised by the disappearance of a water vessel, better called a submersible, which disappeared into the vast North Atlantic waters after a daring ocean-floor tourist mission turned deadly.

A colossal sum of Ksh.140M was paid by a group of individuals to embark on a voyage to see the Titanic, but their whereabouts became unknown, sparking a gripping story that has captivated the world.

The world has been enthralled by the tale of a disappearance at sea involving a submersible, known as the Titan, which vanished amidst the vast waters of the North Atlantic. What was initially an adventurous tourist expedition to explore the depths of the ocean floor turned into a deadly and mysterious ordeal. Five affluent thrill-seekers have been trapped for a distressing five days in a small vessel resembling a minibus, aptly named “Titan,” as their mission to reach the sunken Titanic, a legendary shipwreck from 1912, took an unforeseen turn.

On Sunday, the vessel began its descent towards the renowned wreckage, expected to take approximately two and a half hours. However, just one hour and 45 minutes into the journey, communication with its mother ship, the Polar Prince, abruptly ceased.

The Titan submersible, operated by OceanGate Expeditions based in Everett, Washington, measures 22 feet (6.7 meters) in length. According to the company’s website, it initially completed a dive to a depth of 4,000 meters (13,100 feet) in December 2018 and explored the Titanic’s location, approximately 3,800 meters beneath the Atlantic, in 2021. The plan for this year included a total of 18 dives.

Unlike a submarine, the submersible relies on limited power reserves and requires a support ship, in this case, the Polar Prince, on the surface for its launch and recovery. While submarines can remain submerged for months, a submersible like the Titan has a maximum underwater duration of around 10 to 11 hours per trip.

OceanGate Expeditions charges $250,000 (equivalent to approximately Ksh. 35 million) per seat for these journeys. The confirmed individuals on board include British billionaire businessman Hamish Harding, French diver and Titanic expert Paul-Henri Nargeolet, Pakistani billionaire Shahzada Dawood, his son Suleman Dawood, and the CEO and founder of OceanGate, Stockton Rush.

Due to the absence of GPS underwater, the Titan relies on text messages to communicate with its mother ship. As stated on OceanGate Expeditions’ website, the submersible is required to provide updates every 15 minutes. However, the last communication between the vessel and the Polar Prince occurred at 11:47 a.m. on Sunday.

As news of the impending tragedy spread worldwide, major governments and naval forces swiftly initiated search and rescue operations. A substantial deployment of aircraft, ships, and underwater equipment from the United States, Canada, and France was dispatched to locate the missing Titan submersible.

Reports indicated that the vessel carried only a 96-hour supply of breathable air when it embarked on Sunday. At present, multiple media outlets reveal that the oxygen levels have reached a critically low point and are on the verge of depletion.

Expressing concern for the tragic turn of events, US President Joe Biden, King Charles of the United Kingdom, and other world leaders have shared their thoughts. King Charles, whose charities benefitted from the support of Pakistani billionaire Shahzada Dawood, requested to be continually updated on the situation. John Kirby, the coordinator for strategic communications at the National Security Council, confirmed that President Biden closely monitors the unfolding events.

The story gained tremendous traction across the internet, particularly on Twitter, becoming a prominent topic and one of the most searched items in 2023 so far. Celebrities, maritime experts, and countless individuals shared their views, while numerous memes were created.

Millions of people have been captivated by their screens, absorbing the accounts provided by maritime experts as they describe the immense challenges faced in rescuing the trapped individuals within the vast expanse of the ocean. It is difficult for many to fathom the horrors and nightmarish ordeal experienced by those inside the submersible, compounded by the absolute darkness of the underwater environment. The situation resembles a gripping horror movie akin to the works of John Carpenter.

In the midst of this global tragedy, Black Twitter, known for providing comic relief in times of distress, did not hold back and humorously criticized the “billionaires” for their seemingly unwise excursion.

Reports circulating in the US media about “banging sounds” further intensify the urgency of the situation. It is certain that the oxygen supply has already depleted or will soon run out while you are reading this article.

This multinational maritime search and rescue operation is unprecedented and will undoubtedly be recorded in the annals of history, reminiscent of the ill-fated Titanic, which serves as the inspiration behind this tragic event.

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