The Titan submersible that went missing on Sunday with five people on board while on a voyage to the Titanic shipwreck site suffered a “catastrophic implosion”, killing everyone on board, officials said Thursday.
The U.S. Coast Guard confirmed that debris found near the wreck of the Titanic was part of the lost Titan submersible. The debris was discovered just 656 feet (200 meters) from the Titanic’s bow by a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) after a four-day search by an international rescue effort headed by Canadian and U.S. authorities.
“The debris is consistent with a catastrophic loss of the pressure chamber. Upon this determination we immediately notified the families”, said Rear Admiral John Mauger of the US Coast Guard, who led the search for Titan. He added that the coast guard wants to “extend our condolences to the families of those on board”.
The missing crew consisted of Hamish Harding, a British billionaire and adventurer; Shahzada Dawood, a Pakistani-British businessman and his 19-year-old son, Suleman; Stockton Rush, chief executive and founder of OceanGate Expeditions; and Paul-Henri Nargeolet, a French submersible pilot.
OceanGate — the owner of the sub and a private company that had charged $250,000 per head to give the tour — wrote in a statement on its website that the loss of the crew was “an extremely sad time for our dedicated employees who are exhausted and grieving deeply over this loss.
The U.S. Coast Guard estimated oxygen in the submersible would have run out at about 10:00 GMT on Thursday. The area of the search has been expanded, with the surface search now about 26,000 square kilometers, and the sub-surface search about four kilometers deep.
The cause of the implosion is still unknown and under investigation. Officials said many questions remain unanswered about what happened to the Titan submersible.