Missing Titanic submarine: Debris found; no survivors

The Titan submarine. | Photo: OceanGate

The U.S Coast Guard announced on Thursday afternoon that the five individuals who were aboard the submersible, which had been missing for several days, were killed when the small vessel carrying them to the Titanic wreckage site experienced a “catastrophic implosion.”

As part of a large-scale international search effort, a debris field was discovered earlier in the day in the vicinity of the Titanic. Rear Adm. John Mauger, commander of the First Coast Guard District, confirmed during a press conference that the debris belonged to the Titan sub and that it indicated a catastrophic implosion of the vessel.

The debris was found approximately 1,600 feet from the bow of the Titanic on the ocean floor. Mauger stated that it was too early to determine when the implosion occurred.

The U.S. Navy detected an “anomaly” on Sunday, which is believed to be the fatal blast that caused the small watercraft’s destruction. The irregularity was identified when the Navy reviewed its acoustic data after the submersible was reported missing.

According to a senior military official who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the anomaly was consistent with an implosion or explosion near the area where the Titan submersible was operating when communications were lost. The Navy shared this information with the Coast Guard, although the data was not considered definitive.

Paul Hankins, the U.S. Navy director of salvage operations and ocean engineering, stated that the debris discovered on Thursday indicated a catastrophic event. Hankins and Mauger noted that the debris included a tail cone, the end bell of the pressure hull, and the aft end bell, which collectively formed the entirety of the pressure vessel.

The Titan, a 22-foot vehicle, was on a dive to the Titanic site when contact with its support ship was lost on Sunday morning.

OceanGate, the company responsible for operating the Titan, issued a statement expressing their sorrow over the loss of the travelers. The statement acknowledged that the individuals had tragically perished and conveyed condolences to their families and loved ones for the life and happiness they brought to others.

The travelers who are believed to have lost their lives were Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman Dawood, both Pakistani businessmen, British adventurer Hamish Harding, and French deep-sea explorer and Titanic expert Paul-Henri Nargeolet.

The White House released a statement expressing sympathy and support for the families and loved ones affected by the loss. They acknowledged the difficult ordeal endured over the past few days and assured them of being in their thoughts and prayers.