U.S.

Expert calls search for missing Titanic sub a 'recovery operation'

"I don't see any scenario in which we can get the required equipment to bring them off the bottom before their life-support runs out," he says.

A U.S. Coast Guard member walks by a docked boat
Steven Senne / AP
SMS

Mark Martin is an offshore manager and salvage master who is no stranger to the open water. It started with his career in the Navy aboard submarines and continued after he retired.

"Now I specialize in doing deep ocean salvage for the last 15 years," Martin said.

That includes work with commercial submersibles. It's that expertise that offers him insight into the search for the missing OceanGate Expeditions submersible named Titan.

It's carrying five people to survey the wreckage of the Titanic.

Scripps News West Palm

Titan disappeared Sunday after losing contact with its partner research vehicle. It launched with a 96-hour supply of oxygen

U.S. Coast Guard officials said the submersible is likely to run out of oxygen by Thursday morning if it remains intact. 

"You need to be fully aware of the risks that you're taking," Martin added. "As far as I can tell, the people that were involved were."

Among those on board are Stockton Rush, the CEO of OceanGate Expeditions, who is also a friend of Martin's.

"The fact that Stockton was willing to make the dive himself, and he frequently did, probably instilled some confidence in the majority of the people who pay to go on those trips," Martin said.

Martin said with a daunting search and rescue ongoing, he's preparing himself for every outcome.

"I don't see any scenario in which we can get the required equipment to bring them off the bottom before their life-support runs out," Martin said. "It's a sad fact. I know nobody really wants to think that. Everybody wants to hope the best, but … barring a miracle, this is a recovery operation."

This story was originally published by Chris Gilmore at Scripps News West Palm Beach.