United States Coast Guard: Possible human remains in debris from imploded Titan submersible

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Wednesday, July 5, 2023

A computer rendering of the Titan.
Image: Madelgarius.

On June 28, the United States Coast Guard announced the debris from OceanGate's Titan submersible, which it presumed imploded during a dive to the wreck of the Titanic on June 18, contained "presumed human remains". Horizon Arctic-based remotely-operated vehicles (ROVs) returned debris to land earlier the same day.

After approximately an hour and 45 minutes' descent, the Titan lost contact with its support ship, the Polar Prince. A search effort involving ships and ROVs began, and an ROV found debris about 1,600 feet (488 m) from the bow of the Titanic on June 22. US Coast Guard Rear Admiral John Mauger stated the debris was "consistent with a catastrophic implosion of the vehicle."

A United States Navy acoustic system identified an "an anomaly consistent with an implosion or explosion" on June 18 in the area where the Titan was last detected. An official told NPR the Navy decided to continue the mission "as a search and rescue and make every effort to save the lives on board." Search crews reported sounds at 30-minute intervals the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute's Carl Hartsfield noted others claimed to be "banging noises", but Mauger said "[t]here doesn't appear to be any connection between the noises" and the missing submersible.

With extreme pressure at that depth, an implosion would have instantly killed the five on board: OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, Pakistani-born British executive Shahzada Dawood and his British 19-year-old son Suleman, British businessman Hamish Harding and French explorer Paul-Henri Nargeolet.