By The Associated Press and PATRICK WHITTLE and HOLLY RAMER Associated Press
A submersible carrying five people to the Titanic imploded near the site of the shipwreck and killed everyone on board, authorities said Thursday, bringing a tragic end to a saga that included an urgent around-the-clock search and a worldwide vigil for the missing vessel.
Coast Guard officials said during a news conference that they’ve notified the families of the crew of the Titan, which had been missing since Sunday.
The sliver of hope that remained for finding the five men alive was wiped away early Thursday, when the submersible’s 96-hour supply of oxygen was expected to run out and the Coast Guard announced that debris had been found roughly 1,600 feet (488 meters) from the Titanic in North Atlantic waters.
“This was a catastrophic implosion of the vessel,” said Rear Adm. John Mauger, of the First Coast Guard District.
After the submersible was reported missing Sunday, the U.S. Navy went back and analyzed its acoustic data and found an anomaly that was consistent with an implosion or explosion in the general vicinity of where the TITAN submersible was operating when communications were lost,” a senior Navy official told The Associated Press on Thu4rsday.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive acoustic detection system.
The Navy passed on the information to the Coast Guard, which continued its search.
OceanGate Expeditions, the company that owned and operated the submersible, said in a statement that all five people in the vessel, including CEO and pilot Stockton Rush, “have sadly been lost.”
The others on board were: two members of a prominent Pakistani family, Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman Dawood; British adventurer Hamish Harding; and Titanic expert Paul-Henri Nargeolet.
“These men were true explorers who shared a distinct spirit of adventure, and a deep passion for exploring and protecting the world’s oceans,” OceanGate said in a statement. “We grieve the loss of life and joy they brought to everyone they knew.”
OceanGate has been chronicling the Titanic’s decay and the underwater ecosystem around it via yearly voyages since 2021.
Rescuers rushed ships, planes and other equipment to the site of the disappearance.
Authorities were hoping underwater sounds detected Tuesday and Wednesday might help narrow their search, whose coverage area had been 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 the Titan.
“There doesn’t appear to be any connection between the noises and the location (of the debris) on the seafloor,” Mauger said.
The White House thanked the U.S. Coast Guard, along with Canadian, British and French partners who helped in the search and rescue efforts.
Photo By: AFP / OceanGate Expeditions