A US Navy acoustic system detected an “anomaly” Sunday that was likely the Titan’s fatal implosion, according to a senior military official.
The Navy went back and analyzed its acoustic data after the Titan submersible was reported missing on Sunday. Coast Guard officials announced Thursday that the vessel suffered a catastrophic implosion, killing all five on board.
That anomaly was “consistent with an implosion or explosion in the general vicinity of where the TITAN submersible was operating when communications were lost,” according to the senior Navy official.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive acoustic detection system.
The Navy passed the information to the Coast Guard, which continued its search.
The Wall Street Journal was the first to report Thursday on the Navy’s involvement.
A submersible carrying five people aboard the Titanic imploded near the wreck site, killing all on board, authorities said Thursday, bringing a tragic end to a saga that included an urgent 24-hour search and worldwide vigil for the missing ship .
Coast Guard officials said during a news conference that they had notified the families of the Titan’s crew, who had been missing since Sunday.
What little hope remained of finding the five men alive was dashed early Thursday, when the submersible’s 96-hour oxygen supply was expected to run out and the Coast Guard announced debris had been found some 1,500 feet. (1,600 feet) away. the Titanic in North Atlantic waters.
“This was a catastrophic implosion of the vessel,” said Rear Admiral John Mauger of the Coast Guard’s First District.
OceanGate Expeditions, the company that owns and operates the submersible, said in a statement that all five people on the vessel, including CEO and pilot Stockton Rush, “have unfortunately been lost.”
The others on board were: two members of a prominent Pakistani family, Shahzada Dawood and her son Suleman Dawood; British adventurer Hamish Harding; and Titanic expert Paul-Henri Nargeolet.
“These men were true explorers who shared a distinctive spirit of adventure and a deep passion for exploring and protecting the world’s oceans,” OceanGate said in a statement. “We are sorry for the loss of life and the joy they brought to everyone they knew.”
Read moreTitanic subcrew: who were the five people on board the ship
OceanGate has been recording the breakdown of the Titanic and its surrounding underwater ecosystem through annual voyages since 2021.
Rescuers brought boats, planes and other equipment to the place of disappearance.
Authorities hoped underwater sounds detected Tuesday and Wednesday could help narrow their search, whose coverage area had expanded to thousands of miles, twice the size of Connecticut and in waters 2 1/2 miles (4 kilometers). ) deep.
But the Coast Guard indicated Thursday that the sounds were likely generated by something other than Titan.
“There doesn’t seem to be any connection between the noises and the location (of the debris) on the seabed,” Mauger said.
Mauger said it was too soon to say if the implosion occurred at the time of the submersible’s last communication on Sunday. But it was not detected by sonar buoys used by search teams, he said, suggesting it happened before they arrived several days ago.
“We had listening devices in the water at all times and we did not hear any signs of catastrophic failure from them,” he said.
The Coast Guard will continue to search near the Titanic for more clues about what happened to the Titan. Efforts to recover the submersible and the remains of the five men who died will also continue, Mauger said.
The White House thanked the US Coast Guard, along with Canadian, British and French partners who assisted in the search and rescue efforts.
“Our hearts go out to the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives on Titan. They have been through a terrible ordeal in recent days, and we keep them in our thoughts and prayers,” the statement said.
The Titan launched at 6 a.m. Sunday and was reported late Sunday afternoon about 435 miles (700 kilometers) south of St. John’s, Newfoundland, as it headed for the site where the Titanic sank a few years ago. more than a century. By Thursday, when the oxygen supply was expected to run out, there was little hope of finding the crew alive.
Broadcasters around the world began their newscasts at the critical hour on Thursday with news of the submersible. The Saudi-owned satellite channel Al Arabiya showed an on-air clock counting down to its estimate of when the air might run out.
‘Technology can fail’
At least 46 people successfully traveled on the OceanGate submersible to the Titanic wreck site in 2021 and 2022, according to letters the company filed with a US District Court in Norfolk, Virginia, which oversees matters related to the Titanic shipwreck. But former passengers raised questions about the submersible’s safety.
One of the company’s first customers compared a dive he took at the site two years ago to a suicide mission.
“Imagine a metal tube a few meters long with a sheet of metal for a floor. You can’t stand it. You can’t kneel. They are all sitting next to each other or on top of each other,” said Arthur Loibl, a retired businessman and adventurer from Germany. “You can’t be claustrophobic.”
During the 2 1/2-hour descent and ascent, the lights were turned off to conserve power, he said, with the only illumination coming from a fluorescent light bar.
The dive was repeatedly delayed to fix an issue with the battery and balance weights. In total, the trip took 10 1/2 hours.
The submersible had seven backup systems for returning to the surface, including falling sandbags and lead pipes and an inflatable balloon.
Nicolai Roterman, a deep-sea ecologist and professor of marine biology at the University of Portsmouth, England, said Titan’s disappearance highlights the dangers and unknowns of deep-sea tourism.
“Even the most reliable technology can fail and therefore accidents will happen. With the growth of deep-sea tourism, we should expect more incidents like this.”