‘Conditions were not favorable.’ 106th Rescue Wing of Westhampton Beach describes search for missing sub

The Ocean Gate Expedition sub was taking passengers on a tour to see the Titanic wreckage at the bottom of the ocean. It went missing Sunday night off the coast of Newfoundland.

Rachel Yonkunas

Jun 20, 2023, 11:55 AM

Updated 300 days ago

Share:

Long island is part of an urgent search and rescue operation that has captivated the nation. Crews from the Air National Guard’s 106th Rescue Wing in Westhampton Beach has joined the search for a missing submersible carrying five people.
The Ocean Gate Expedition sub was taking passengers on a tour to see the Titanic wreckage at the bottom of the ocean. It went missing Sunday night off the coast of Newfoundland.
Search crews from the 106th Rescue Wing spent 11 hours in the air. They got off the ground around 3:30 p.m. Monday and arrived at the search area by 6:30 p.m. They were up against poor weather conditions that reduced their visibility to less than a mile, even with night vision goggles.
“We didn't have a lot of illumination. It was very, very difficult last night to conduct the search,” said Capt. Chris Colwell, aircraft commander on the HC-130 of the 106th Rescue Wing. “We did it to the best of our ability and we stayed there for about three and a half hours. At that point, we were running low on gas so we had to return back home.”
The Ocean Gate Expedition vessel began its descent to explore the Titanic’s wreckage deep beneath the ocean’s surface on Sunday. Less than two hours into the tour, they lost communication and vanished. Five passengers are trapped inside.
By Tuesday afternoon, U.S. Coast Guard Officials estimated that the passengers had about 40 hours of oxygen left. With no GPS underwater, time is running out for rescue crews.
“I can say from my experience, it’s the first time I've been requested to look for a submarine so for us, that is definitely a challenge because, even if it does surface, a small amount will be visible above the surface itself,” said Major Patrick Harding of the 106th Rescue Wing, who helped coordinate deployment of the aircraft. “That's going to add to the challenge because even on a great day with someone in bright colors waving at you, it can be difficult to even see it from an aircraft.”
A second crew from the 106th Rescue Wing took off around 1:00 p.m. Tuesday. They needed to be back home by midnight to avoid running out of gas.


More from News 12
1:45
West Islip H.S. student to face a judge over accusations of bringing gun, bullets to school

West Islip H.S. student to face a judge over accusations of bringing gun, bullets to school

2:49
Sunny with highs near 70 today; cooler, wet weather to end the week

Sunny with highs near 70 today; cooler, wet weather to end the week

0:30
Police: 23-year-old charged for scrawling antisemitic graffiti in East Meadow

Police: 23-year-old charged for scrawling antisemitic graffiti in East Meadow

0:40
More than 200 pizzerias on LI band together to raise money for fallen NYPD detective

More than 200 pizzerias on LI band together to raise money for fallen NYPD detective

2:05
‘Wastewater Olympics’ held today in East Rockaway ahead of Earth Day

‘Wastewater Olympics’ held today in East Rockaway ahead of Earth Day

1:50
Made on Long Island: Ronance Mouthwatering Morsels in Bellmore

Made on Long Island: Ronance Mouthwatering Morsels in Bellmore

2:23
State budget makes no change to foundation school aid; governor signals changes coming in 2026

State budget makes no change to foundation school aid; governor signals changes coming in 2026

1:43
Police: Several people hurt in Garden City bus crash

Police: Several people hurt in Garden City bus crash

1:32
Nassau Community College professors call on state to step in to help school survive

Nassau Community College professors call on state to step in to help school survive

1:56
State officials: More chemical drums could be buried beneath Bethpage baseball field

State officials: More chemical drums could be buried beneath Bethpage baseball field

1:33
Groundbreaking ceremony marks beginning of Jake's 58 Casino's $210M expansion project

Groundbreaking ceremony marks beginning of Jake's 58 Casino's $210M expansion project

1:32
Nassau residents deliver petition with more than 1,600 signatures against proposal to deputize residents

Nassau residents deliver petition with more than 1,600 signatures against proposal to deputize residents

Police: Driver arrested for fatal Brentwood hit-and-run

Police: Driver arrested for fatal Brentwood hit-and-run

0:26
Police: Central Islip business cited for violation after State Liquor Authority investigation

Police: Central Islip business cited for violation after State Liquor Authority investigation

1:39
Paws & Pals: Dogs up for adoption at Almost Home Animal Rescue

Paws & Pals: Dogs up for adoption at Almost Home Animal Rescue

4:39
Guide: Ways to help you identify and deal with work burnout

Guide: Ways to help you identify and deal with work burnout

1:49
Officials: Fire dispatcher's wife alerts him about blaze at their Centereach home

Officials: Fire dispatcher's wife alerts him about blaze at their Centereach home

0:32
State police: Trooper conducting traffic stop rear-ended on Meadowbrook State Parkway

State police: Trooper conducting traffic stop rear-ended on Meadowbrook State Parkway

0:24
Police: Car crashes onto guardrail, overturns on LIE in Brentwood; driver injured

Police: Car crashes onto guardrail, overturns on LIE in Brentwood; driver injured