All Titanic Submersible Passengers Dead, Wreckage Sighted by Cameras on Ocean Floor.

File photo. Rear Adm. John Mauger, the U.S. Coast Guard District commander, breaks the sad news during a press conference in Boston on Thursday about the search for the missing OceanGate submersible Titan. Photo by Brian Snyder/Reuters
- Advertisement -

By Editor-June 22nd, 2023.

All five passengers aboard the missing Titan submersible are now dead following a “catastrophic implosion of the vessel,” the U.S. Coast Guard said Thursday. The Coast Guard said they did not know if bodies could be recovered.

An implosion means that the body of the submersible caved in under the extreme pressure of the ocean depths.

Speaking at a news conference in Boston, Rear Adm. John Mauger said the debris found by a remotely operated vehicle on the sea floor near the wreck of the Titanic indicated the crew and passengers likely died from the failure of the craft.

“The debris is consistent with the catastrophic loss of the pressure chamber,” he said. “Upon this determination, we immediately notified the families … I can only imagine what this has been like for them. And I hope that this discovery provides some solace during this difficult time.”

The Coast Guard said that the debris field was uncovered by a remote controled vehicle with lights and camera from the Canadian ship  Horizon Arctic, which had reached the sea floor early Thursday.

Pictures taken by this vehicle showed identifiable parts of the Titan submersible.

If the craft imploded, the five passengers would have died instantly due to the extreme pressure of two miles of ocean above them.

Did anyone warn OceanGate that the Titan wasn’t safe?

Years before the Titan went missing, OceanGate faced several complaints and warnings about the safety of its submersible vessels.

Records from a 2018 lawsuit show that the company’s former director of marine operations, David Lochridge, flagged potential safety issues with the Titan as it was under development in 2015.

Lochridge was particularly concerned about the company’s lack of testing on the Titan’s 5-inch-thick carbon fiber hull, which employed an experimental design developed in collaboration with NASA. He also said that the Titan’s port window was only designed to withstand depths of about 4,200 feet — far shallower than the 13,000-foot depth of the Titanic.

OceanGate responded in legal filings by saying it relied on acoustic testing “better suited” to detect safety issues. The company fired and sued Lochridge, accusing him of breaching his contract.

Separately, but in the same year the lawsuit was settled, the chairman of the Marine Technology Society’s Submarine Group wrote a letter to OceanGate saying 38 industry experts had “unanimous concern” about the Titan’s lack of adherence to industry standards.

“We have submarines all over the world diving at 12,000 to 20,000 feet every day of the year, for research. We know very well how to design these machines and operate them safely,” the chairman, Will Kohnen, told NPR’s Morning Edition radio show on Wednesday. 

Sources: NPR, BBC, news agencies.
- Advertisement -