US navy detected an ‘anomaly’ that was likely the Titan’s implosion
The AP reports:
The Navy went back and analyzed its acoustic data after the Titan submersible was reported missing Sunday. That anomaly was ‘consistent with an implosion or explosion in the general vicinity of where the Titan submersible was operating when communications were lost,’ according to the senior Navy official. 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.
Updated at 19.05 EDT
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James Cameron has also spoken to CNN’s Anderson Cooper, saying how he feels “heartsick” from Thursday’s news. He said that when he heard on Monday that the Titan had lost communications and tracking data simultaneously, the only scenario he could come up with was “an implosion, a shockwave event so powerful that it actually took out a secondary system that has its own pressure vessel and its own battery power supply”, referring to the tracking system.
Cameron said that once he heard from the deep-submergence community that a loud noise had been picked up on Sunday, he told everyone that “we had lost comrades and I encouraged everybody to raise a glass in their honour.”
You can watch more of the interview here.
What we know so far
Five crew members aboard the submersible Titan were probably killed instantly in a “catastrophic implosion” as it descended to the wreck of the Titanic two miles below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean, US Coast Guard officials said.
A large debris field containing five major pieces of the vessel were spotted by a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) scouring the seabed near the Titanic wreck site 400 miles south of St John’s, Newfoundland, officials said. The debris was “consistent with the catastrophic loss of the pressure chamber”, they said.
It is too early to tell exactly when the implosion occurred, officials said, noting that nothing was detected on sonar buoys deployed in the ocean in recent days.
Those aboard the submersible were British adventurer Hamish Harding, 58; French veteran Titanic explorer Paul Henri Nargeoloet, 77; British-Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood, 48, and his 19-year-old son Suleman; and 61-year-old American Stockton Rush, co-founder of OceanGate, the company that operated the lost sub.
The US Navy says it recorded a sound “consistent with an implosion” just after the Titan was reported to have lost communications with its support ship on Monday. The navy passed this information onto the Coast Guard which continued the search because it did not consider the information to be “definitive”.
Banging noises heard earlier in the week have been attributed to other vessels operating in the area.
The friends and family of those killed have thanked those engaged in the search and paid respect to their loved ones. The families of Dawood said they were overwhelmed by the support they have received; Nargeoloet’s son remembered him as a larger than life figure and an aviation company operated by Harding’s family described him as a “larger than life figure”.
Officials could not confirm whether they will be able to recover the bodies of the crew members. The US Coast Guard will continue to investigate the site of the debris field, while vessels and personnel will be demobilised over the next 24 hours.
Film director James Cameron says he had concerns about the construction of the submersible but trusted the issues had been addressed by others. He says friends heard the bang that was later detected by the US navy.
Though some robots will remain on site to continue to collect evidence, the US Coast Guard has begun “demobilising personnel”
Updated at 23.37 EDT
Officials say that now the fate of the Titan is known the search operation will be wound down though some vehicles will still be deployed to continue to gather evidence.
U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral John Mauger told reporters on Thursday that robotic craft on the seabed will continue to gather evidence but it was not clear whether gathering remains will be possible given the nature of the accident and the extreme conditions.
We will begin to demobilize personnel and vessels from the scene over the course of the next 24 hours.
The Reuters report on the potential legal situation facing OceanGate going forward also highlights some interesting quirks about how maritime law works in these situations.
For instance, the report notes that under maritime law, owners of vessels involved in an accident may ask a court in the US to limit damages claims by family members to the current value of the vessel.
Since the Titan was destroyed, Reuters notes, “that would be zero”.
But to do this, OceanGate would need to prove it had no knowledge of potential defects with the submersible and would carry the burden of proof, which is a hard standard to meet.
Another maritime law, the Death on the High Seas Act, limits the amount people who were financially dependent on another who died in a naval accident to only a portion of their future earnings. Plaintiffs also cannot recover losses for pain and suffering.
Amazon has begun to clear bad-taste reviews of the game controller used to steer the lost Titan sub.
Users began posting black-humour reviews of the controller to Amazon after news about the missing sub broke including images showing a Logitech F710 game controller used to control the vessel.
It is not unusual for game controllers to be used to pilot drones, ROVs, and sometimes vessels but users have posted reviews critical about its role in steering submarines.
Now the fate of the sub is known, the BBC reports that Amazon has begun deleting these reviews as they do not comply with community guidelines.
Tributes have poured in for the five people who are now believed to have been instantly killed in a “catastrophic implosion” of the Titan submersible during its dive to the Titanic.
On Thursday, after days of aerial and underwater searches, a robotic diving vehicle deployed from a Canadian ship discovered a debris field from the submersible Titan on the seabed 1,600 feet (488 metres) from the bow of the Titanic.
Five major fragments of the 22-foot (6.7-metre) Titan were located in the debris field left from its disintegration, including the vessel’s tail cone and two sections of the pressure hull, Coast Guard officials said.
“The debris field here is consistent with a catastrophic implosion of the vehicle,” Rear Admiral John Mauger of the US coast guard said.
The Titan, operated by the US-based company OceanGate Expeditions, had been missing since it lost contact with its surface support ship on Sunday morning about an hour and 45 minutes into what should have been a two-hour dive to the world’s most famous shipwreck.
The White House said the loved ones of the five men had endured a “harrowing ordeal” over the past week.
For more on the reactions to this grim tragedy, read the full report by Guardian International’s site editor Graham Russell.
John Nathanial Paschall, stepson of famed French explorer Paul-Henri Nargeolet says he “thought nothing of it” in the lead up to the trip owing to his step-father’s past experience visiting the wreck of the Titanic.
Speaking to MSNBC, Paschall said he and other families have been shocked by the news of the fate of the Titan.
We’ve been living a nightmare this week. I think that goes for all the families. We can speak about PH but it has been truly is a nightmare of an experience. And I hope no one ever has to go through it again.
Paschall remembered his Nargeolet as a “really great step-father to me” with a big heart, a great sense of humour and a love of pranks.
There are so many ways I was just blown away by his love and care for me.
The ocean, Paschall said, was his step-father’s “home away from home”.
It was so cool. He talked about it so much, I almost became numb to it, in a way because of how much he talked about it. Oh, another expedition you get to go on. That’s so cool. But he was just such an inspiration in terms of the amount of work he put in and his fearlessness with everything.
His big question for OceanGate however was: Were the safety procedures followed as close as possible? Was anything going on?
James Cameron says his sources heard a ‘loud bang’ too
Filmmaker and underwater enthusiast James Cameron has told Reuters in a Zoom interview that his sources reported hearing a “loud bang” on Sunday, similar to the US Navy’s report that it heard an underwater “anomaly” near the wreck of the Titanic on Sunday.
Cameron said he knew the Titan submersible was lost from the start, suspecting it imploded at the time the Titan’s support vessel lost communications one hour and 45 minutes into the mission.
“We got confirmation within an hour that there had been a loud bang at the same time that the sub comms were lost. A loud bang on the hydrophone. Loss of transponder. Loss of comms. I knew what happened. The sub imploded,” Cameron said.
He added that he told colleagues in an email on Monday, “We’ve lost some friends,” and, “It’s on the bottom in pieces right now.” The five who died mark the first deep-sea fatalities for the industry, Cameron said.
James Cameron on Titanic sub technology: ‘It sounded bad’ – video
Updated at 03.27 EDT
Former US President Barrack Obama has contrasted the media attention on the Titan sub with that given to the loss of 700 asylum seekers who died in near Pylos, Greece.
Obama was speaking at an event with the Stavros Niarchos Foundation where he pointed out the disparity.
You think about what’s happening this week. there’s a potential tragedy unfolding with a submarine that is getting, you know ,minute to minute coverage, all around the world And it’s understandable because we all want and pray for those folks to be rescued.
But the fact that’s got more attention than 700 people who sank is –- that’s an untenable situation.