Titanic submarine: 5 passengers die on missing submarine after "catastrophic implosion"

Titanic submarine: 5 passengers die on missing submarine after "catastrophic implosion"

Coast Guard says submersible wreckage found near Titanic, after 'catastrophic loss'

The Coast Guard announced Thursday that it believes the five passengers who disappeared while trying to explore the wreck of the Titanic were likely missing due to a "catastrophic implosion" of their ship.

US Coast Guard Admiral John Mauger announced in a news conference that, Thursday morning, five large pieces of debris had been found on the sea floor about 1,600 feet from the Titanic site, a finding "consistent with the catastrophic loss of pressure in the chamber." Mauger said they notified the families afterward and offered their condolences.

Shortly before Mauger's comments, the company operating the trip, OceanGate, announced that the five passengers were "unfortunately lost."

"These men were true explorers who shared a distinctive spirit of adventure and a deep passion for the exploration and protection of the world's oceans," the statement read. "Our hearts go out to these five souls and every member of their family during this tragic time."

The grim announcement came four days after a 21-foot tourist sub called Titan was reported missing nearly 900 miles east of Cape Cod, prompting an intense search to find the ship before its passengers ran out of oxygen.

Titan was expected to run out of its 96-hour supply of breathable air on Thursday morning. Because the door was locked from the outside, those inside could not open it themselves, even if they could get to the roof. Asked about the possibility of recovering the remains, Mauger described the conditions as "unforgiving" and said there were no prospects of doing so now.

Missing and comprehensive sub search

The Titan, operated by OceanGate, a private exploration company based in Everett, Washington, set off early Sunday morning for a tour of the Titanic's wreck with five passengers on board: OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, 61; British billionaire and explorer Hamish Harding, 58; Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood, 48, and his 19-year-old son, Suleiman; and Paul-Henri Nargolet, a 77-year-old French explorer.

The Canadian research vessel Polar Prince and the mission support ship lost contact with the submarine about 1 hour and 45 minutes after launch. OceanGate reported Titan missing Sunday night, prompting a massive international search effort led by the US Coast Guard with assistance from the US Air Force, Navy, Air National Guard, Royal Canadian Navy, and Canadian Coast Guard.

A Canadian P-3 with sonar sensors detected underwater "noise" on Tuesday and Wednesday, raising hopes that a surviving Titan crew could be found. But Coast Guard officials cautioned at the time that they were unsure of the cause of the noise even as they insisted the search was still in the rescue phase.

"This is a 100% search and rescue mission," Frederick said Wednesday. "We're bustling in the middle of a search and rescue, and we'll continue to put every available asset into trying to find Titan and the crew."

Founded in 2009, OceanGate charges up to $250,000 per person to visit the remains of the Titanic, which sank in 1912 on its inaugural voyage from England to New York. While Rush said last year that the submarine had come to the wreck more than a dozen times over the past two years, there have been several red flags about the operation. In 2018, more than 36 oceanographers and deep-sea explorers wrote a letter to OceanGate warning that its "experimental" approach could lead to "catastrophic" consequences for the Titanic's dive.

Journalist David Pogue discussed some of the paperwork he had to sign in an almost humorous tone, reading: "This experimental vessel has not been approved or approved by any regulatory body and could result in bodily injury, psychological trauma or death" by a steward. "Where do I sign?"

In a 2022 article, Pugh noted that while on the expedition, the submarine never reached the wreck site due to communications errors. "We lost two and a half hours," one passenger said. Pogue's scheduled flight to the Titanic was canceled due to inclement weather, and a backup flight to the Continental Shelf was canceled due to technical difficulties after a 37-foot drop.

In a tweet Monday, Pugh said the craft had been lost for five hours and that adding an emergency locator beacon was being discussed. Pugh said, "They can still send short texts to the sub but don't know where it is. It was very quiet and tense, and they shut down the internet on the ship to prevent us from tweeting." He noted that the company cited the need to keep "all channels open" as a reason for cutting off Internet access, he said.

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