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What we know about the missing Titanic-bound submersible

OPERATED VEHICLE FROM THE VESSEL HORIZON ARCTIC DISCOVERED THE TAIL CONE OF THE TITAN SUBMERGED CABLE APPROXIMATELY 1600 FEET FROM THE BOW OF THE TITANIC ON THE SEA FLOOR. THE ROV SUBSEQUENTLY FOUND ADDITIONAL DEBRIS IN CONSULTATION WITH EXPERTS FROM WITHIN THE UNIFIED COMMAND. THE DEBRIS IS CONSISTENT WITH THE CATASTROPHIC LOSS OF THE PRESSURE CHAMBER. UPON THIS DETERMINATION, WE IMMEDIATELY NOTIFIED THE FAMILIES ON BEHALF OF THE UNITED STATES COAST GUARD AND THE ENTIRE UNIFIED COMMAND. I OFFER MY DEEPEST CONDOLENCES TO THE FAMILIES. I CAN ONLY IMAGINE WHAT THIS HAS BEEN LIKE FOR THEM. AND I HOPE THAT THIS DISCOVERY PROVID

What we know about the missing Titanic-bound submersible

The U.S. Coast Guard says a missing submersible imploded near the wreckage of the Titanic, killing all five people on board. Coast Guard officials said during a news conference Thursday that they’ve notified the families of the crew of the Titan, which has been missing for several days. Debris found during the search for the vessel is consistent with the catastrophic loss of the pressure chamber, said Rear Adm. John Mauger of the First Coast Guard District. “This is an incredibly unforgiving environment down there on the sea floor and the debris is consistent with a catastrophic implosion of the vessel,” Mauger told reporters.The families were immediately notified, Mauger said. “I can only imagine what this has been like for them and I hope that this discovery provides some solace during this difficult time,” he said.OceanGate Expeditions said in a statement that all five people on board, including company CEO Stockton Rush, are believed to be dead. Rush, Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman Dawood, Hamish Harding, and Paul-Henri Nargeolet “have sadly been lost,” OceanGate said in a statement.OceanGate did not provide details when the company announced the “loss of life” in a statement or how officials knew the crew members perished. The Titan’s 96-hour oxygen supply likely ended early Thursday. Here’s what we know:How did they go missing?The submersible was part of an eight-day journey conducted by OceanGate Expeditions. The trip is based out of Newfoundland, with participants first traveling 400 nautical miles to the wreck site, which is about 900 miles off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The submersible began its two-hour descent to the wreck on Sunday morning. It lost contact with the Polar Prince, the support ship that transported the vessel to the site, 1 hour and 45 minutes into its descent, officials said. Search operations began later that day.It’s not clear exactly when the implosion happened or if the implosion happened as the sub lost contact. The debris was located on the ocean floor, roughly 500 meters off of the bow of the Titanic, at about 8:55 a.m. ET.Who’s was on board?A renowned Titanic expert, a world-record-holding adventurer, two members of one of Pakistan’s wealthiest families and the CEO of the company leading an expedition to the world’s most famous shipwreck all lost their lives on the submersible expedition.They are: Stockton Rush founded OceanGate Inc. in 2009 to provide crewed submersibles for undersea researchers and explorers, according to the company’s website. Rush is the Titan’s pilot, said company spokesperson Andrew Von Kerens.Hamish Harding, a British businessman, lives in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Action Aviation, an aircraft brokering company for which Harding serves as chairman, said he was one of the mission specialists, who paid to go on the expedition. Harding is an avid adventurer, having traveled to space on board the Blue Origin flight last year, and to the Challenger Deep in the Pacific Ocean, believed to be the deepest point in the world. Shahzada and Suleman Dawood, who are father and son, are members of one of Pakistan’s most prominent families. Their family said in a statement that they were both aboard the vessel. The business family runs some of the largest corporations in the country, with a portfolio spanning energy, petrochemicals, fertilizers, IT and food and agriculture.Paul-Henri Nargeolet is a former French navy officer who is considered a Titanic expert after making multiple trips to the wreckage over several decades. The diver has decades of experience exploring the Titanic. He serves as the director of underwater research at RMS Titanic Inc., the company that has exclusive rights to salvage artifacts from the ship.What is the submersible? What’s it like inside?A submersible is different from a submarine in a few key ways. It has limited power reserves, so it needs a support ship on the surface to launch and recover it. It can’t stay underwater for as long; the Titan typically spends 10 to 11 hours during each dive to the Titanic wreck, compared to submarines that can stay underwater for months.The Titan is made of carbon fiber and titanium, weighing 23,000 pounds, with safety features to monitor the structural integrity of the vessel, according to OceanGate. It’s also small and sparse on the inside, with about as much space as a minivan, according to CBS correspondent David Pogue, who took a trip on the Titan down to the Titanic wreck last year. There is only one toilet and no seats; passengers sit cross-legged on the floor. There are no windows except the porthole through which passengers view the Titanic.With no GPS underwater, the submersible is only guided by text messages from the surface ship. On Pogue’s trip, communications broke down during a dive and the submersible was lost for over two hours, he said.The pilot steers the sub using a video game controller – but if that fails, a hard-wired system can control the propellers, according to Aaron Newman, who took the dive on the Titan in 2021 and is now an OceanGate investor. Thrusters are powered by an external electrical system, while an internal system powers communications and a heater, he said. Have there been safety concerns before?The incident has prompted discussion around the safety of deep-sea tourism, with some pointing out that OceanGate has come under criticism before.Two former OceanGate employees separately brought up similar safety concerns about the thickness of the Titan’s hull when they were employed by the company years ago.A statement from a research lab also appears to show conflicting information about the engineering and testing that went into the development of the vessel.OceanGate’s legal representative boasted the Titan’s “unparalleled” safety features in a 2021 court filing, saying it had been built with the University of Washington’s Applied Physics Laboratory – but the university said the lab had never dealt with the design, engineering or testing of the Titan.Industry leaders also expressed concerns five years ago about the company’s “experimental approach” to the Titan submersible and its trip to the Titanic, the New York Times reported Tuesday.The Manned Underwater Vehicles committee of the Marine Technology Society said it penned a letter to Rush, the missing CEO, in 2018. The group warned of potential “negative outcomes (from minor to catastrophic) that would have serious consequences for everyone in the industry,” said the letter obtained by the Times.OceanGate has not responded to a request for comment on the letter, or on the two former employees’ claims. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

The U.S. Coast Guard says a missing submersible imploded near the wreckage of the Titanic, killing all five people on board. Coast Guard officials said during a news conference Thursday that they’ve notified the families of the crew of the Titan, which has been missing for several days. Debris found during the search for the vessel is consistent with the catastrophic loss of the pressure chamber, said Rear Adm. John Mauger of the First Coast Guard District.

“This is an incredibly unforgiving environment down there on the sea floor and the debris is consistent with a catastrophic implosion of the vessel,” Mauger told reporters.

The families were immediately notified, Mauger said. “I can only imagine what this has been like for them and I hope that this discovery provides some solace during this difficult time,” he said.

OceanGate Expeditions said in a statement that all five people on board, including company CEO Stockton Rush, are believed to be dead. Rush, Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman Dawood, Hamish Harding, and Paul-Henri Nargeolet “have sadly been lost,” OceanGate said in a statement.

OceanGate did not provide details when the company announced the “loss of life” in a statement or how officials knew the crew members perished. The Titan’s 96-hour oxygen supply likely ended early Thursday.

Here’s what we know:

How did they go missing?

The submersible was part of an eight-day journey conducted by OceanGate Expeditions. The trip is based out of Newfoundland, with participants first traveling 400 nautical miles to the wreck site, which is about 900 miles off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

The submersible began its two-hour descent to the wreck on Sunday morning. It lost contact with the Polar Prince, the support ship that transported the vessel to the site, 1 hour and 45 minutes into its descent, officials said.

Search operations began later that day.

It’s not clear exactly when the implosion happened or if the implosion happened as the sub lost contact. The debris was located on the ocean floor, roughly 500 meters off of the bow of the Titanic, at about 8:55 a.m. ET.

Who’s was on board?

A renowned Titanic expert, a world-record-holding adventurer, two members of one of Pakistan’s wealthiest families and the CEO of the company leading an expedition to the world’s most famous shipwreck all lost their lives on the submersible expedition.

They are:

  • Stockton Rush founded OceanGate Inc. in 2009 to provide crewed submersibles for undersea researchers and explorers, according to the company’s website. Rush is the Titan’s pilot, said company spokesperson Andrew Von Kerens.
  • Hamish Harding, a British businessman, lives in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Action Aviation, an aircraft brokering company for which Harding serves as chairman, said he was one of the mission specialists, who paid to go on the expedition. Harding is an avid adventurer, having traveled to space on board the Blue Origin flight last year, and to the Challenger Deep in the Pacific Ocean, believed to be the deepest point in the world.
  • Shahzada and Suleman Dawood, who are father and son, are members of one of Pakistan’s most prominent families. Their family said in a statement that they were both aboard the vessel. The business family runs some of the largest corporations in the country, with a portfolio spanning energy, petrochemicals, fertilizers, IT and food and agriculture.
  • Paul-Henri Nargeolet is a former French navy officer who is considered a Titanic expert after making multiple trips to the wreckage over several decades. The diver has decades of experience exploring the Titanic. He serves as the director of underwater research at RMS Titanic Inc., the company that has exclusive rights to salvage artifacts from the ship.

What is the submersible? What’s it like inside?

A submersible is different from a submarine in a few key ways. It has limited power reserves, so it needs a support ship on the surface to launch and recover it. It can’t stay underwater for as long; the Titan typically spends 10 to 11 hours during each dive to the Titanic wreck, compared to submarines that can stay underwater for months.

The Titan is made of carbon fiber and titanium, weighing 23,000 pounds, with safety features to monitor the structural integrity of the vessel, according to OceanGate.

It’s also small and sparse on the inside, with about as much space as a minivan, according to CBS correspondent David Pogue, who took a trip on the Titan down to the Titanic wreck last year. There is only one toilet and no seats; passengers sit cross-legged on the floor. There are no windows except the porthole through which passengers view the Titanic.

With no GPS underwater, the submersible is only guided by text messages from the surface ship. On Pogue’s trip, communications broke down during a dive and the submersible was lost for over two hours, he said.

The pilot steers the sub using a video game controller – but if that fails, a hard-wired system can control the propellers, according to Aaron Newman, who took the dive on the Titan in 2021 and is now an OceanGate investor. Thrusters are powered by an external electrical system, while an internal system powers communications and a heater, he said.

Have there been safety concerns before?

The incident has prompted discussion around the safety of deep-sea tourism, with some pointing out that OceanGate has come under criticism before.

Two former OceanGate employees separately brought up similar safety concerns about the thickness of the Titan’s hull when they were employed by the company years ago.

A statement from a research lab also appears to show conflicting information about the engineering and testing that went into the development of the vessel.

OceanGate’s legal representative boasted the Titan’s “unparalleled” safety features in a 2021 court filing, saying it had been built with the University of Washington’s Applied Physics Laboratory – but the university said the lab had never dealt with the design, engineering or testing of the Titan.

Industry leaders also expressed concerns five years ago about the company’s “experimental approach” to the Titan submersible and its trip to the Titanic, the New York Times reported Tuesday.

The Manned Underwater Vehicles committee of the Marine Technology Society said it penned a letter to Rush, the missing CEO, in 2018. The group warned of potential “negative outcomes (from minor to catastrophic) that would have serious consequences for everyone in the industry,” said the letter obtained by the Times.

OceanGate has not responded to a request for comment on the letter, or on the two former employees’ claims.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


https://www.wlwt.com/article/what-we-know-missing-titanic-submersible/44264641 What we know about the missing Titanic-bound submersible

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