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Five men aboard missing Titan sub dead after ‘catastrophic implosion’

todayAugust 12, 2023 4

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Five men aboard missing Titan sub dead after ‘catastrophic implosion’

The US Navy likely detected the “catastrophic implosion” of the Titan submersible soon after it went missing on Sunday.

Five people died, including a billionaire father and son, in the implosion of the vessel near the Titanic wreck.

The discovery of debris from the submersible comes as a senior official in the navy confirmed that an existing secret system designed to pick up audio heard a sound consistent with an “implosion”.

The sound was heard near where the submersible lost communication on Sunday.

‘Debris consistent with catastrophic loss of pressure chamber’ as all five on board Titan ‘lost’ – live updates

While the official said the sound was “not definitive”, the navy said it shared the information “immediately” with the incident commander.

A navy statement said: “This information was considered with the compilation of additional acoustic data provided by other partners and the decision was made to continue our mission as a search and rescue and make every effort to save the lives on board.”

On Thursday, Rear Admiral John Mauger – who led the search – confirmed in a news conference that a remotely operated vehicle had discovered the nose cone of the lost submersible about 487m (1,600ft) from the bow of the Titanic on the seafloor.

Further debris was found nearby, with Rear Admiral Mauger adding: “In consultation with experts from within unified command, the debris is consistent with the catastrophic loss of the pressure chamber.

“On behalf of US Coast Guard and entire unified command, I offer deepest condolences to the families. I can only imagine what this has been like for them, and I hope this discovery provides some solace during this difficult time.”

Titan submersible in June 2021. File pic: OceanGate Expeditions via AP.

Image:
The Titan submersible in June 2021. File pic: OceanGate Expeditions via AP

Minutes before the news conference, OceanGate – which owned the submersible – released a statement that said: “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.”

Read more:
Family of British billionaire Hamish Harding pay tribute following implosion of missing sub
Student, 19, killed in Titan was ‘terrified’ before trip but went as a Father’s Day present
Titanic director said he ‘knew submersible was destroyed’ four days before debris found

Sky’s US correspondent James Matthews – who was at the US Coast Guard’s news conference in Boston – asked Rear Admiral Mauger whether any trace of the passengers had been found.

He replied: “This is an incredibly complex operating environment on the seafloor, over two miles beneath the surface. The remote operating vehicle has been searching, and it is highly capable, and we’ve been able to classify parts of the pressure chamber for the Titan submersible.”

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‘Why were you worried about Titan?’

When asked about the prospects for recovering crew members, Rear Admiral Mauger warned “it is an incredibly unforgiving environment on the seafloor”.

While the debris is consistent with a “catastrophic implosion” of the vessel, he stressed that it is too early to know when this happened – and underwater robots remain on scene to gather information.

“We’ll continue to work and continue to search the area down there, but I don’t have an answer for prospects at this time,” he told reporters.

Questions remain about Titan’s mechanical and safety issues

It was the outcome that nobody wanted but everyone feared.

As time passed in this search, the prospect of a happy ending diminished.

Coordinators had spoken of hope but throughout they had managed expectations – emphasising the scale of the challenge, calling it “enormously complex”, in an offshore environment they described as “incredibly unforgiving”.

So there was a sense of inevitability about the announcement that debris had been found – the Coastguard news conference on Boston’s harbour side was laced with sorrow, if not surprise.

Questions will continue to be asked about the Titan, its condition and suitability to make the trip.

Mechanical and safety issues remain a big part of this story.

There has been much criticism of the vessel’s structure before, during and after it went missing.

OceanGate, the company that owned the Titan, issued a statement in which it described the five on board as “true explorers who shared a distinct spirit of adventure”. No doubt.

No doubt, either, that in pursuit of adventure, they deserved transport they could count on.

Misplaced trust cost them their lives as they sought a glimpse of the Titanic.

Disasters do tend to attract disaster.

Maritime investigators will consider whether, in the case of the Titan, this was one waiting to happen.

Carl Hartsville, an expert from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, later added that no debris from the Titanic is based in the area.

While there had been speculation in past news conferences that underwater banging noises heard near the site could be linked to Titan, the Coast Guard said there doesn’t appear to be a connection.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said it was “tragic news” that the five men had lost their lives. Billionaire Hamish Harding – as well as businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman – were British citizens.

“The UK government is closely supporting the families affected and expresses our deepest condolences,” he added.

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‘Two friends of mine are gone’

Earlier on Thursday, it had been announced that a “debris field” had been found at the search site.

David Mearns – a rescue expert who knew two of the five men onboard – had told Sky News that Titan’s landing frame and rear cover had been identified.

Five days have passed since Titan’s passengers embarked on a two-hour dive to see the wreck of the Titanic.

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Has OceanGate followed protocols?

Teams from multiple countries had scoured thousands of square miles looking for the minivan-sized vessel.

On Wednesday, the US Coast Guard had forecast that the vessel’s air supply would run out by 12.08pm UK time today.

Finding the missing submersible in a totally dark environment was likened to discovering a needle in a haystack – and according to experts, even specialist vehicles on the seafloor can only see for a matter of metres.

Read more:
What happened to the Titan sub?
Five men on board described as ‘true explorers’

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Commodore David Russell, a former Royal Navy submariner, told Sky News that the evidence suggests that the Titan’s pressure hull failed – and those onboard would have lost their lives instantaneously.

Mr Harding and Mr Nargeolet were members of The Explorers Club – and in a statement, its president Richard Garriott de Cayeux said “our hearts are broken” by the tragedy.

He thanked those involved in the search and rescue effort, adding: “They were both drawn to explore, like so many of us, and did so in the name of meaningful science for the betterment of mankind.

“We’re heartbroken for the families, friends and colleagues of those who were lost. Their memories will be a blessing and will continue to inspire us in the name of science and exploration.”

Written by: Newsroom

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