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U.S. Navy’s deep sea recovery system arrives in Canada for submersible search

Specialized equipment that the Navy used to recover an F-18 fighter jet from the Mediterranean last July has arrived in Saint John’s, Newfoundland, to take part in the search for a missing submersible.

The Navy said the Flyaway Deep Ocean Salvage System can retrieve objects from a depth of 20,000 feet.

But the modular FADOSS system can’t be used until it is welded to the deck of a support ship, which can take up to 24 hours, officials said.

“It is standing by and ready for mobilization. We’re lining-up vessels of opportunity for it now,” a Navy official said.

The FADOSS system compensates for the motion of the support ship during recovery operations.

“It’s the safest for the vessel and for the personnel on deck that are operating the equipment,” a Navy official told reporters Wednesday.

The Navy used FADOSS in March 2021 to retrieve an MH-60 Seahawk helicopter from a depth of more than 19,000 feet off the coast of Okinawa, Japan. It was a record for aircraft recovery by the service’s salvage specialists.

The Titan submersible, which belongs to OceanGate Expeditions, was being used to take tourists to view the wreckage of the Titanic. The iconic ocean liner lies at a depth of about 12,500 feet.

FADOSS can’t be used until the Titan is located and hopes of a successful rescue are rapidly dimming as the oxygen supply runs out. On Wednesday, a Navy official said he couldn’t recall an incident in which FADOSS recovered someone who was still alive.

“Usually, we’re recovering objects from the bottom or aircraft from a mishap,” Navy officials said.

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