Local explorer who has dove to Titanic growing anxious about ongoing search for missing sub

As the multinational search effort continues for the submersible that became lost while exploring the century-old wreck of the Titanic, a local explorer is growing anxious.

Alfred Hagen, a Bucks County construction developer has been on two Titan missions 2.4 miles below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean to visit the Titanic. The Titan, Hagen said, was developed by OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush to explore the ocean's deepest depths.

"Stockton Rush is a visionary, he’s a brilliant visionary who wanted to access the deepest parts of the ocean," Hagen said. "I consider it like exploring interspace as opposed to outer space, he created the titan to go to incredible depths."

Depths he says that not even nuclear submarines can reach. The Titan can reach up to 3 miles below the surface and withstand intense underwater pressure. 


Despite an international rescue effort, U.S. Coast Guard officials said the search covering 10,000 square miles (26,000 square kilometers) had turned up no signs of the lost sub known as the Titan, but they planned to continue looking.

Authorities reported the carbon-fiber vessel overdue Sunday night, setting off the search in waters about 435 miles (700 kilometers) south of St. John’s, Newfoundland. Aboard were a pilot, renowned British adventurer Hamish Harding, two members of an iconic Pakistani business family and a Titanic expert.

The submersible had a 96-hour oxygen supply when it put to sea at roughly 6 a.m. Sunday, according to David Concannon, an adviser to OceanGate Expeditions, which oversaw the mission.

That means the oxygen supply could run out Thursday morning.

"It’s just heartbreaking to know that they may be suffering and gasping for air, and we have to exert every effort to do whatever is possible to rescue them," Hagen said.

The submersible had seven backup systems to return to the surface, including sandbags and lead pipes that drop off and an inflatable balloon. One system is designed to work even if everyone aboard is unconscious.

"On my dives to the Titanic it was the norm that we would lose communication at various points," Hagen said. "It’s not a good thing that there hasn’t been communication but that’s not in itself definitive that they’re already dead."