Martine Industry News reports that pieces of the missing submersible Titan have been found approximately 500m from the bow of the Titanic, including its titanium nose cone and its tail piece. The pattern of the debris is said to be consistent with “a catastrophic implosion”. The US Coast Guard says it will continue to investigate the site of the debris field, but has not confirmed if it will be possible to locate and recover the bodies of the five victims.
An expanding fleet of international rescue teams raced against time to locate the vessel, which had five passengers onboard and a dwindling supply of oxygen. On Wednesday (21 June 2023), the US Coast Guard reported that an aircraft had detected underwater ‘noises’ at regular intervals, raising some hopes that the passengers may still be alive.
The undersea exploration company Oceangate, which is based in the US state of Washington, has been making annual submersible expeditions to the Titanic since 2021, bringing small crews of marine biologists, explorers and ‘citizen scientists’ aboard, each paying up to $250,000 for a ticket.
Oceangate Expeditions operated the ill-fated Titan submersible that lost contact while diving near the wreckage of the Titanic on Sunday (18 June 2023).
Several outlets including AP News and the New York Times have reported that David Lochridge, OceanGate’s director of marine operations, wrote an engineering report in 2018 that said the craft under development “needed more testing and that passengers might be endangered when it reached ‘extreme depths’.”
Multiple media outlets have reported that the company running the underwater expeditions to the Titanic wreck site was warned about the potential for safety problems.