OceanGate Expedition: Debris strewn on the ocean floor may provide clues about the final moments of the Titanic’s sunken submarine.



CNN

Investigators continue to search the ocean floor for insights into how a “catastrophic eruption” could have occurred. Killing all five passengers A submarine en route to the Titanic suddenly lost contact with its mother ship late last week, officials said.

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A one-day international search effort ended Thursday after debris from the Titanic submarine was found about 1,600 feet from the Titanic’s historic wreckage. Military experts found the wreckage consistent with the small ship’s catastrophic loss of pressure chamber, US Coast Guard Rear Adm. John Mager announced.

The The passengers were killed a Pakistani businessman and his son, Shahjata and Sulaiman Dawood; British businessman Hamish Harding; French diver Paul-Henri Narcolet; and Stockton Rush, CEO of the ship’s operator, OceanGate Expeditions.

Remotely operated vehicles will be used to map Titan’s debris field more than 2 miles deep in the North Atlantic Ocean while officials work to determine the timing and circumstances of the crash, Mauger said.

OceanGate co-founder Guillermo Sohnlein cautioned against rushing to catastrophic loss judgment.

“There are teams still on site collecting data for the next few days, weeks, maybe months, and it’s going to be a long time before we know what happened there,” Sohnlein told CNN Friday morning. “Therefore, I would encourage us to hold off on speculation until we have more data.”

Meanwhile, Titan’s mothership left the search area Friday and is expected to arrive in port in St. John’s, Newfoundland early Saturday, a source at Horizon Maritime, the ship’s owner, told CNN’s Miguel Marquez. Marine traffic monitoring sites show a line of ships heading back to St. John’s on Friday morning.

Officials still haven’t determined for sure whether the catastrophic explosion occurred the moment the submarine stopped communicating about 1 hour and 45 minutes later, Mauger said.

A Navy review of the acoustic data on Sunday found an “anomaly consistent with an explosion or explosion” in the general area where the Titan was diving, a senior Navy official told CNN. The information was “immediately” shared with scene commanders leading the search and used to narrow the search area, the official said. Oli was “unconvinced” and “decided to continue our mission as a search and rescue mission and make every effort to save lives on board.”

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As the search began, crews kept sonar buoys on the water “almost continuously” and detected no “catastrophic events,” Mauger said.

When asked if any remains would be recovered, Mauger noted the “incredibly unforgiving environment,” adding, “I don’t have an answer to the possibilities at this time.” A medical expert said a deep-sea explosion would leave behind no salvageable remains.

Dr. Eileen Marty, a disaster medicine specialist at Florida International University, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “It’s highly unlikely they’ll find anything in human tissue.”

OceanGate called its dives “truly extraordinary” among an industry of once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Adventure travel for the super rich. A seat on the Titanic cost $250,000 per passenger Archived version of OceanGate’s webcasts.

But the tragedy has renewed scrutiny of OceanGate’s operations and the development of the 21-foot, 23,000-pound Titan craft, amid reports of safety concerns, mechanical problems and circumvention of regulatory processes.

Sonlein said the deaths were “a tragic loss for the families and the marine research community in general,” and noted the inherent danger in such expeditions.

“People in the community who work at that depth know that’s always a risk,” Sonlein told CNN on Thursday. “If there is a failure, the pressure is so low that it’s an instant, catastrophic failure.”

From OceanGate/FILE

The OceanGate Titan submersible is shown in an undated photo.

As OceanGate Questions about its operations and security practices Sonlein also supported the company’s approach to designing and launching the ship in the wake of Titan’s fatal explosion.

Sohnlein had “full confidence” in co-founder Rush, who had previously expressed skepticism about regulations that could slow innovation, he said.

“I broke some rules to make this,” Rush told travel blogger Alan Estrada of Titan in 2021.

Sonlein said Rush was not a “risk taker,” he was a “risk manager.”

“We won’t know until the investigation is over and all the data is collected, so I’m reserving judgment,” Sonlein said. “But I’ve known him for 15 years and none of this will change my mind.”

At least two former OceanGate employees He expressed security concerns CNN reported on the development of the ship’s hull several years ago, including testing procedures and the thickness of its carbon fiber frame.

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The carbon fiber hull design “needs special extra attention,” William Koenen, chairman of the Marine Technology Association’s submersibles group, told CNN’s Cooper on Friday. “Because it’s never been done before. It means an extra effort and an extra test to pass through that certification process.

Kohnen raised concerns with Rush about moving too quickly and ignoring the social knowledge surrounding submarines, and said, not unique to the industry, “the current regulations stifle innovation, and it’s too slow, and we have a better system . . .”

In addition, Koenen said requests were made for Oceangate to “clean up” its website to use more transparent language about the Titan’s design.

“They did it, and in the end it was very clear that it was experimental and not certified, and that’s part of public safety,” Konen said. “One feature, full disclosure … and then it leaves people to make some decisions.”

In addition, uncertainty after the 2021 Titan test dive led Discovery Channel’s “Expedition Unknown” host Josh Gates and his crew to decide not to film part of the ship because “we had a lot of demand at the time. We have to work together with the partner,” he said.

“A lot of the systems worked, but a lot of them didn’t really work. We had problems with thrusters and computer control and things like that,” Gates said. “Ultimately, it was a challenging dive.”

According to court records, the company has been plagued by mechanical problems and inclement weather that have forced it to cancel or delay trips in recent years.

The difficulties led to a pair of lawsuits in which some high-paying customers sought to recoup the cost of excursions they said they did not go on and accused the company of exaggerating their ability to reach the Titanic wreck.

OceanGate did not respond to claims in court and could not be reached for comment.

In addition to Rush directing the Titan mission, victims These include two senior researchers from Pakistan and a father-son duo.

According to OceanGate’s archived website, French diver Narjolet, a content expert familiar with the Titanic wreckage, was on board.

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Worked as Director of Underwater Research at RMS Titanic Inc reserves exclusive rights To recover artifacts from the ship. Narjolet performed 35 dives on the wreck and oversaw the recovery of 5,000 artifacts, according to his biography on the company’s website.

The diver’s family remembered him as a loving father and husband who “will be remembered as one of the greatest deep-sea explorers in modern history.”

“But what we will remember him most for was his big heart, his incredible sense of humor and how much he loved his family. We will miss him today and every day for the rest of our lives,” his wife and children said in a statement Thursday.

Harding, a British businessman, had a remarkable resume of extreme travel, having participated in several expeditions. He was a member of the 2019 flight crew that broke the world record for the fastest circumnavigation of the globe via both poles and in 2020 became one of the first to dive to the Challenger Deep in the Pacific Ocean, widely believed to be the deepest point. In the world’s oceans.

Globetrotter owned air brokerage Action Aviation and was loved by his wife and two sons, his family said in a statement.

“He was a passionate explorer — no matter the terrain — who lived his life for his family, his business and the next adventure,” the statement said. “What he accomplished in his lifetime was truly remarkable, and if we can take any small consolation from this tragedy, it’s that we missed out on doing what he loved.”

Pakistani billionaire Shahjata Dawood and his son Suleman were also on the Titan. Their family’s business, Dawood Hercules Corp., is one of Pakistan’s largest conglomerates.

“In this difficult time of mourning, please keep the departed souls and our family in your prayers,” the family’s father, Hussain Dawood, and his wife, Kulsum, said in a statement on Thursday.

Shahjada Dawood was intelligent and always curious, his friend Bill Diamond told CNN on Wednesday. He doesn’t think of Dawood as an adventurer, but believes he is aware of the risks of traveling to Titan, Diamond said.

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