The US Coast Guard has discovered a “debris field” during their search for Titan, the missing submersible that went missing after heading to the Titanic wreck early Sunday morning. More specifically, they found the missing sub’s rear cover and landing frame.
The discovery was made after a remotely operated underwater vehicle was deployed to the sea floor. David Mearns, one of the individuals involved with the rescue who also personally knew two of the men onboard, received a message in a WhatsApp group suggesting that two essential parts of the sub were located. However, the carbon fiber hull is still missing.
According to Mearns, the US Coast Guard will not use terms like “debris field” unless there’s zero chance of rescuing the individuals alive. If anything, it indicates that the sub experienced a catastrophic failure, which led to the break-up of the vessel.
The only saving grace, according to him, is that the implosion would have happened within milliseconds. In other words, those onboard wouldn’t have known what was happening.
It was later confirmed that all five people died as a result of the sub’s implosion near the Titanic’s wreck.
A senior navy officer also confirmed in a subsequent interview that a noise consistent with an ‘implosion’ was picked up by the navy’s secret acoustic system at the bottom of the ocean. Allegedly, the sound was heard near where the vessel lost communication on Sunday morning.
While the sound was ‘not definitive’, the navy had shared the details with the incident commander immediately. After considering the information, along with other acoustic data provided by other parties, they made the decision to continue the search and rescue mission, with the goal of trying to save the individuals on board.
John Mauger, Rear Admiral who led the search efforts, later confirmed in a Thursday news conference that the remotely operated vehicle had found the missing submersible’s nose cone, approximately 1,600 feet from the Titanic on the seafloor. Additional debris was located nearby.
After consulting with experts, it was determined that the debris is consistent with the catastrophic loss of pressure chamber. However, he emphasized that it’s still too early to determine the cause of the implosion. He also explained that the remotely controlled robots will remain on the scene in the Atlantic to gather more information on the incident.
Minutes before the conference, the company that owned the sub, OceanGate, also released a statement on their website saying that they believed all five onboard have been lost.