Local sonar professional explains missing sub operation

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BOSTON — The urgent search continues for a submersible that disappeared during a mission to explore the wreckage of the Titanic. The craft with five people on board lost contact on Sunday.

During an afternoon briefing in Boston, the U.S. Coast Guard said it was working around the clock to find the missing sub.

Crews are deploying a remote-operated vehicle underwater as part of the search, equipped with cameras, and sonar technology. News10NBC spoke with a local sonar professional who studies this kind of thing and uncovers shipwrecks with it.

Jim Kennard, of Perinton, loves exploring the depths of the Great Lakes, Mississippi and Ohio rivers. His passion is finding shipwrecks, and using sonar technology to do so.

Naturally, when the Titanic submersible went missing, it caught his attention. He explained what he knows, about searching deep waters.

“We could be here for an hour talking about it,” said Kennard.

For years, he and a few others tried to find a 1780 British Warship in Lake Ontario. One day, as Kennard explains it, they “got lucky” and did.

For the search for the missing submersible, he said sonar technology and cameras will be especially important. Sonar uses sound waves to detect items in water.

But it will be challenging for crews.

“That submersible is only 22 feet in length, so it’s pretty small,” he said.

“If, let’s say something went wrong obviously, and it’s on the bottom near the Titanic, the debris field of the Titanic is big and debris is all over the place,” said Kennard. “So trying to find something like that is like finding a needle in a haystack.”

The Coast Guard is using a remote-operated vehicle underwater. But Kennard said this craft moves slowly, as it’s attached to a support ship above the surface. The search could take days, even months.

“Eventually, I think they will find it but unfortunately time is running out for the crew, and that’s really sad.”