France to send ship to Titanic sub rescue operation

PARIS (Reuters) -France will send a ship equipped with a deep-sea diving vessel to help the search-and-rescue operation for a disappeared submersible that took wealthy tourists to visit the site of the Titanic wreckage, the French government said on Tuesday.

The ship, called the Atalante, is managed by the Ifremer research institute. Ifremer said it had been contacted on Monday by the U.S. Navy with a request for help.

“It carries the Victor 6000 autonomous robot, capable of descending to a depth of 6,000 metres, beyond the 3,800 metres of the wreck’s position”, Ifremer said, adding the ship was expected to arrive on the site by Wednesday evening local time.

Additional crew members from another ship are also being urgently dispatched to the search operation.

A government source confirmed to Reuters that a French national, The 77-year-old French explorer Paul-Henri Nargeolet, was among those on board the missing vessel.

(Reporting by Elizabeth Pineau and Tassilo Hummel;Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Frank Jack Daniel)