The five people on board the submersible that went missing on an expedition to the Titanic shipwreck have been confirmed dead.
The tragic news was corroborated by OceanGate and the U.S. Coast Guard after debris from the vessel was found in the vicinity of the Titanic wreck. It is believed that the cause of death was a “catastrophic implosion” of the Titan submersible however it is still unclear when this implosion occurred.
“The debris is consistent with the catastrophic loss of the pressure chamber,” Rear Admiral John Mauger of the First Coast Guard District said, per the ABC.
“Our most heartfelt condolences go out to the loved ones of the crew.”
The tragic discovery came after an unmanned deep-sea robot was deployed and found the debris just 488 meters from the Titanic itself, four kilometers underwater. Following this discovery, OceanGate Expeditions made a statement publicly naming the passengers who they believe to be deceased.
“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,” the company stated.
“These men were true explorers who shared a distinct spirit of adventure, and a deep passion for exploring and protecting the world’s oceans.”
While the news is devastating for family and friends of the victims of the tragedy, there is a small solace in knowing that the implosion would have been a quick end, as opposed to hours of terrified suffering they may have had if the oxygen levels were to run out.
Before the fate of the five individuals was confirmed, John Mixson, a retired US Coast Guard lieutenant commander, spoke to Fox News about what it would be like for the individuals lost at sea in the van-sized submersible watercraft right now, and it sounds awful.
“From what I understand, the vessels are not designed for long-range, multi-day excursions,” he told Fox News.
“So it’s going to be a very, very uncomfortable, dark experience with a lot of hope and prayers,” Mixson said.
ICYMI, the group set out on their voyage to the Titanic wreck on Sunday morning with a company called OceanGate, which specialises in deploying tourist submersibles for deep-sea expeditions (a submersible is a vessel pretty similar to a submarine but needs a mother ship to leave and return to port).
OceanGate lost comms with the sub only an hour and 45 minutes after its dive began — at the time, it had 96 hours of breathable oxygen left. As of Tuesday afternoon, this number had dwindled to 40. As you can imagine, the search for the missing crew has become frantic.
“It’s hard to say whenever you just lose total communications in a situation like that what actually happened until you find the vessel,” Mixson told Fox News.
“This isn’t a common occurrence at all.
“Obviously, something very rapid and very tragic took place.”
Mixson described the situation as “extremely serious” and “dire”, but said that given the search for the missing passengers was still being called a “search and rescue mission”, family members and friends of the crew should remain hopeful.
In a press conference on Tuesday, Rear Admiral John Mauger confirmed that search parties for the group had been deployed by both the US and Canada.
“It is a remote area and it is a challenge to conduct a search in that remote area, but we are deploying all available assets to make sure that we can locate the craft and rescue the people on board,” Rear Admiral Mauger said, per the ABC.
“Our aerial assets that are being deployed have the capability to do both visual and radar searches, and the Canadian asset has the ability to drop sonar buoys and listen.”
An official statement by OceanGate stated that its “entire focus is on the crew members in the submersible and their families.”
“We are exploring and mobilising all options to bring the crew back safely,” it wrote.
“We are deeply thankful for the extensive assistance we have received from several government agencies and deep sea companies in our efforts to reestablish contact with the submersible.
“We are working towards the safe return of the crew members.”
OceanGate advisor David Concannon told reporters that the sub has a 96-hour oxygen supply.
The missing submersible was using Elon Musk‘s Starlink satellites for its voyage.
British billionaire Hamish Harding has been confirmed by his family and company Action Aviation as one of the passengers on board. He also posted to his Facebook a day prior that he would be on the expedition.
One of Pakistan’s richest men Shahzada Dawood and his 19-year-old son Suleman were also understood to be onboard.
“We are very grateful for the concern being shown by our colleagues and friends and would like to request everyone to pray for their safety,” said a family statement, per news.com.au.
Stockton Rush, CEO of OceanGate and founder of the firm, was also reportedly onboard the sub, as was veteran submarine pilot and researcher of the Titanic wreck Paul-Henry Nargeolet.
Absolutely speechless that David Pogue, the CBS journalist who went on the missing Titanic sub last year, WITNESSED IT GET LOST FOR HOURS WITH NO LOCATOR BEACON AND DECIDED NOT TO MENTION THAT IN HIS REPORT pic.twitter.com/vgNC9vpCoF— eric (@MrEAnders) June 20, 2023
The tour to the wreckage, which reportedly costs $189,000 to $292,000 a head, has run before in 2021 and 2022. Following the tour’s success, OceanGate announced that the journey in their submersible would run annually to the site.
The expedition is touted as being similar to space travel, showing the mysteries of the deep ocean.
(Image Source: OceanGate)