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Titan Lost: Debris Field Consistent with ‘Catastrophic Implosion’ of Tourist Submersible

The Deep Energy pipelaying vessel, one of the most capable in the world, at the site of the search for the Titan submersible in the N. Atlantic Ocean. Photo courtesy U.S. Coast Guard

Titan Lost: Debris Field Consistent with ‘Catastrophic Implosion’ of Tourist Submersible

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 14288
June 22, 2023

The U.S. Coast Guard has confirmed that the Titan submersible suffered a “catastrophic implosion” with the loss of all five people on board.

The confirmation comes following an analysis of debris field found within the search area earlier Thursday morning, approximately 1,600 feet from the bow of the Titanic. The debris is consistent with a catastrophic loss of pressure, the Coast Guard said in a noon media briefing.

The debris field consisted of the submersible’s tail cone and both the forward and aft end bells, along with main part of the pressure chamber.

The tour operator, OceanGate Expeditions, has also confirmed that that all five on board have perished.

The discovery of the debris field came after additional vessels equipped with remotely operated vehicles (ROV) had arrived on scene over the past 24 hours or so.

The Coast Guard said earlier that the debris was located by an ROV from the Horizon Arctic, an Anchor Handling Tug Supply (AHTS) operated by Horizon Maritime, after its ROV reached the sea floor earlier Thursday. The company also operates OceanGate’s expedition support vessel Polar Prince, which launched the Titan sub on Sunday morning and later reported it missing after losing contact with the vessel.

The Horizon Arctic arrived on scene at some point on Wednesday after loading deepwater equipment in St. John’s. The equipment included a U.S. military ROV and the U.S. Navy’s Flyaway Deep Ocean Salvage System (FADOSS), a portable and motion-compensated lift system designed for deep ocean lifting for the recovery of large, bulky, and heavy objects such as aircraft or small vessels.

BBC reported earlier the debris included “a landing frame and a rear cover from the submersible. The Coast Guard later confirmed details of the debris in its noon press conference.

ROVs will remain on scene to gather information and map the debris.

Weather on scene today was reported as winds of 14 mph with gusts up to 19mph, with 4-5ft seas and an air temp of 50°f.

OceanGate’s statement is below:

We now believe that our CEO Stockton Rush, Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman Dawood, Hamish Harding, and Paul-Henri Nargeolet, have sadly been lost. 

“These men were true explorers who shared a distinct spirit of adventure, and a deep passion for exploring and protecting the world’s oceans. Our hearts are with these five souls and every member of their families during this tragic time. We grieve the loss of life and joy they brought to everyone they knew. 

This is an extremely sad time for our dedicated employees who are exhausted and grieving deeply over this loss. The entire OceanGate family is deeply grateful for the countless men and women from multiple organizations of the international community who expedited wide-ranging resources and have worked so very hard on this mission. We appreciate their commitment to finding these five explorers, and their days and nights of tireless work in support of our crew and their families. 

This is a very sad time for the entire explorer community, and for each of the family members of those lost at sea. We respectfully ask that the privacy of these families be respected during this most painful time.

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