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Broadcaster Janet Street-Porter has been branded 'insensitive' for her comments about the 'rich' explorers who have gone missing in a submersible in the Atlantic.

Street-Porter joined her fellow Loose Women hosts in discussing the submersible today (20 June), after it set off on Sunday and was declared as missing in the mid Atlantic.

A rescue operation for the submarine is ongoing.

Authorities lost contact with the vessel about an hour and 45 minutes into its dive, and a huge search and rescue operation is now underway in a bid to save the five people onboard.

Passengers include British businessman Hamish Harding; Titanic researcher Paul-Henri Nargeolet; chief executive and founder of OceanGate Inc. Stockton Rush; Shahzada Dawood, the vice chairman of the business Engro Corporation Limited in Pakistan, and Dawood's son, Suleman Dawood.

The Loose Women hosts shared some of the latest updates on the search, and during the segment Street-Porter expressed belief that those on board the vessel will have understood the dangers involved with going on the dive.

"I don't want to appear heartless, but I do think that the people who are on board will have understood the risks," she said.

Janet Street-Porter said passengers knew 'the risks'.

"This kind of trip is a new kind of tourism, which we've seen in space trips, and now underwater trips and, you know, people scaling the most highest mountains in the world.

"Only the richest people in the world can afford this kind of tourism, and let's hope that people don't put their lives in danger trying to rescue them too, because they're people doing a job that they're being paid a lot less money for doing."

Street-Porter was hit with backlash after sharing the comments, with many viewers shocked at her words and branding her as 'insensitive'.

One viewer wrote: "Is Janet Street Porter for real? These people could be dead and she’s talking about their morality? @loosewomen need to get rid of Janet Street Porter. I think they all need replacing, but she is SO insensitive during these kinds of situations."

Viewers branded Janet Street-Porter as 'insensitive'.

Another responded: "Janet has basically just called the missing people 'selfish billionaires'. She couldn't have been less compassionate."

American and Canadian ships and planes have been deployed to take part in the rescue and recovery of the vessel, though it's unclear whether the submarine is still underwater, or has since surfaced.

US Coast Guard Rear Admiral John Mauger explained: "It is a remote area and it is a challenge to conduct a search in that remote area.

"We are deploying all available assets to make sure that we can locate the craft and rescue the people on board."

Tyla has contacted a representative for Street-Porter for comment.

Featured Image Credit: ITV / OceanGate

Topics: Celebrity, Loose Women, News, TV And Film, ITV, UK News