A man who was the first Irish diver to visit the wreckage of the Titanic is on board the mothership of the submersible that has gone missing in the Atlantic Ocean.
Rory Golden posted on social media to confirm he is safe and that he is now part of a team involved in search efforts.
Rescue teams are in a race against time to find a submersible tourist vessel which went missing during a voyage to the Titanic shipwreck off the coast of Canada, with a British billionaire among five people aboard.
There may be as little as 58 hours of emergency oxygen left aboard the submersible, which lost communication with tour operators on Sunday while about 435 miles south of St John's, Newfoundland.
Mr Golden took to Facebook to thank everyone for their messages of goodwill, while also urging people not to speculate on the search efforts.
"We are all focussed on board here for our friends," he said thanking those that had been in touch asking of him.
"We have a situation that is now the part of a major Search and Rescue effort, being undertaken by major agencies.
"That is where our focus is right now.
"The reaction and offers of help globally is truly astonishing, and only goes to show the real goodness in people at a time like this.
"Our online and internet options are being restricted in order to keep bandwidth available for the co-ordinated effort that is taking place, so please bear that in mind too."
Private plane firm Action Aviation said its British chairman Hamish Harding is one of the mission specialists on the five-person OceanGate Expeditions vessel.
French submersible pilot Paul-Henry Nargeolet and chief executive and founder of OceanGate Expeditions Stockton Rush are also on the vessel, according to reports.
OceanGate Expeditions said its focus was on those aboard the vessel and their families.
“For some time, we have been unable to establish communications with one of our submersible exploration vehicles which is currently visiting the wreck site of the Titanic.
"Our entire focus is on the wellbeing of the crew and every step possible is being taken to bring the five crew members back safely.
"We are deeply grateful for the urgent and extensive assistance we are receiving from multiple government agencies and deep-sea companies as we seek to reestablish contact with the submersible.
"We pray for the safe return of the crew and passengers, and we will provide updates as they are available.”
Mr Golden is an Honorary member of the Belfast Titanic Society.
In a statement, they said: “The Belfast Titanic Society has been in touch with Rory Golden, who is part of the 2023 expedition by Oceangate, to pass on our thoughts at this time.
"Rory told the society he is safe and well on board their research vessel.
"They are concentrating on the rescue efforts and resources at international level.
"Online and internet options are being restricted in order to keep bandwidth available for the coordinated effort that is taking place.
"Rory really wants to thank everyone who has been in touch with messages of goodwill.”
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