US Coast Guard: Submersible Titan imploded; all 5 people on board died

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A submersible carrying five people bound for the Titanic imploded near the site of the wreck, killing all five people on board, authorities said Thursday, a tragic end to a saga that included an urgent day-and-night search. and a worldwide vigil for the missing vessel.

US Coast Guard officials told a news conference that they have notified the families of the crew of the Titan, with which contact has been lost since Sunday.

What little hope remained of finding the five men alive was dashed early Thursday, when the submersible's 96-hour supply of oxygen was expected to run out and the Coast Guard announced debris had been found at approximately 1,600 feet (488 meters). ) of 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 owned and operated the submersible, said in a statement that the five people on the ship, including its CEO and pilot Stockton Rush, "we have sadly lost."

The other people on board were: two members of a prominent Pakistani family, Shahzada Dawood and her son Suleman Dawood; British adventurer Hamish Harding; and Paul-Henri Nargeolet, an expert on the Titanic.

“These men were true explorers who shared a strong 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.”

OceanGate has been documenting the breakup of the Titanic and the surrounding underwater ecosystem through annual voyages since 2021.

Rescuers sent ships, planes and other equipment to the site of the disappearance.

Authorities were hopeful that underwater sounds detected Tuesday and Wednesday could help narrow their search, whose coverage area had been extended to thousands of kilometers, twice the size of the state of Connecticut, and into waters 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) ( 2.5 miles) deep.

But the Coast Guard said Thursday that the sounds were likely generated by something other than the Titan.

"There does not appear to be any link between the noises and the location (of the debris) on the seabed," Mauger said.

The official said it was too early to say if the implosion occurred at the time the submersible last reported on Sunday. But it was not detected by sonar buoys used by the search teams, suggesting that it happened before they arrived several days ago.

“The whole time we had listening devices in the water and we didn't hear any indication of catastrophic failure,” he said.

The Coast Guard will continue to search for clues as to what happened to the Titan. Efforts to recover the submersible and the remains of the five men who died will also continue, Mauger added.

The White House thanked the Coast Guard, as well as Canadian, British and French partners who helped with the search.

“Our hearts go out to the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives on Titan. In the last few days they have gone through a horrendous ordeal, and we keep them in our thoughts and prayers," he said in a statement.

The Titan left at 6 a.m. Sunday and was reported late that afternoon approximately 435 miles (700 kilometers) south of St John's, Newfoundland, on its expedition to 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.

News outlets around the world began their prime-time newscasts on Thursday with news about the submersible. The Saudi-owned Al Arabiya satellite channel displayed a clock counting down when it might run out of air.

At least 46 people successfully traveled on the OceanGate submersible to the wreck of the Titanic in 2021 and 2022, according to company letters filed in federal court in Norfolk, Virginia, which oversees matters related to the sinking of the liner.

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