Missing Titanic tourist sub experienced ‘catastrophic’ implosion – US Coast Guard

Missing Titanic tourist sub experienced ‘catastrophic’ implosion – US Coast Guard

All five people aboard are believed dead after debris was found on the ocean floor near the Titanic shipwreck.

BOSTON – A remotely operated vehicle (ROV) discovered a debris field Thursday, approximately 1,600 feet off the bow of the Titanic.

The ROV deployed to the Canadian vessel Horizon Arctic, discovered the tail section of the 21-foot submersible, Titan, that went missing Sunday. Experts from within the unified command are evaluating the imagery and debris while continuing ROV’s search efforts near the Titanic to locate additional portions of the Titan.

Experts have assessed that the debris field found on the ocean floor near the Titanic shipwreck came from the body of a missing tourist submersible that disappeared Sunday, Coast Guard officials confirmed on Thursday. All five people aboard are now believed dead.

“The debris is consistent with the catastrophic loss of the pressure chamber,” Rear Adm. John Mauger, the head of the search-and-rescue operation, said at a news conference on Thursday afternoon in Boston. “On behalf of the United States Coast Guard and the entire unified command, I offer my deepest condolences to the families.”

At 1 p.m. Eastern on Thursday, the Coast Guard had announced that a remotely operated vehicle found a debris field near the Titanic shipwreck, but at the time offered no details about the nature of the debris. The craft is believed to have imploded in the water, causing debris to land several hundred meters from the site of the Titanic. Coast Guard officials said that investigations into the episode would continue but offered few details about their nature.

The announcement from the Coast Guard came just minutes after Oceangate Exploration, the company that owned the Titan submersible and operates dives to the Titanic, issued a statement saying it believed the passengers were dead.

“Our hearts are with these five souls and every member of their families during this tragic time,” the company said in the statement on Thursday.

The Titan, a 21-foot tourist submersible, lost contact with its Canadian-owned parent ship, Polar Prince, on Sunday morning, sparking a wide-reaching search led by the U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards that has garnered round-the-clock international attention. Commercial, research and private vessels and aircraft, as well as teams from the U.S., Canada and other countries, joined together to search a span of the North Atlantic over twice the size of Connecticut.

The Coast Guard had estimated on Tuesday afternoon that the five passengers aboard the Titan had around 40 hours of oxygen if the craft was intact. It had been predicted that they would run out of oxygen sometime Thursday.

As recently as Wednesday afternoon, American and Canadian officials were voicing confidence that the operation would remain a search-and-rescue mission.

“We are smack dab in the middle of search and rescue, and we’ll continue to put every available asset that we have in an effort to find the Titan and the crew members,” U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Jamie Frederick said at a news conference in Boston on Wednesday.

The Navy also dispatched the Flyaway Deep Ocean Salvage System, FADOSS, to Newfoundland in the event the submersible was found.

OceanGate Exploration successfully made trips to the shipwreck in 2021 and 2022, according to the company’s website. A journey with OceanGate, the only company offering dives to the Titanic site, can cost a “citizen scientist” $250,000.

Concerns had been raised during the construction of the submersible. Experts were unsure whether the vessel, made of carbon fiber, could withstand continuous trips to the depths of the ocean floor and exposure to the intense pressure at the seafloor.

The five people aboard were identified as Hamish Harding, 58, a billionaire British explorer; Paul-Henri Nargeolet, 77, a French Titanic expert; British businessman Shahzada Dawood, 48, and his son, Suleman, 19; and Stockton Rush, 61, founder and CEO of OceanGate Expeditions.


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