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Titanic sub – Live: James Cameron says ‘I wish I’d spoken up’

James Cameron. (Getty Images)

  • The search for the missing Titan sub is over and no survivors will be found

  • In a press conference on Thursday evening, US Coast Guard officials said debris found was consistent with a ‘catastrophic loss of the pressure chamber”

  • The five people on board were British explorer Hamish Harding; British businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son, Suleman; French submersible pilot Paul-Henri Nargeolet; and chief executive of OceanGate Expeditions Stockton Rush

  • Officials could not say what the prospects were of recovering the bodies

  • Rear Admiral John Mauger said: “We’ll continue to work and continue to search the area down there”

  • Azmeh Dawood, the sister of Shahzada Dawood and aunt to Suleman, told NBC News her nephew “wasn’t very up for it” and was “terrified”. (Read more in the blog post below, or read more here)

  • Movie director James Cameron says he’s wish he’d spoken up about risky design of sub (Read more in the blog post below, or read more here)

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Titanic sub: All five passengers dead

The five people aboard a missing submersible died in a “catastrophic implosion,” a U.S. Coast Guard official said on Thursday, bringing a grim end to the international search for the vessel that was lost during a deep-sea voyage to the wreck of the Titanic.

“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 Expeditions, the U.S.-based company that operated the Titan submersible, said in a statement. “Our hearts are with these five souls and every member of their families during this tragic time.”

An unmanned robot deployed from a Canadian ship discovered the wreckage of the Titan on Thursday morning about 1,600 feet (488 meters) from the bow of the century-old wreck, 2-1/2 miles (4 km) below the surface in a remote area of the North Atlantic, U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral John Mauger said at a press conference.

(Clockwise from left) Hamish Harding, Stockton Rush, Paul-Henri Nargeolet, Shahzada Dawood and his 19-year-old son Suleman Dawood. (PA, Getty, Alamy)

(Clockwise from left) Hamish Harding, Stockton Rush, Paul-Henri Nargeolet, Shahzada Dawood and his 19-year-old son Suleman Dawood. (PA, Getty, Alamy)

“The debris field here is consistent with a catastrophic implosion of the vehicle,” Mauger said.

The five aboard included the British billionaire and explorer Hamish Harding, 58; Pakistani-born business magnate Shahzada Dawood, 48, and his 19-year-old son, Suleman, both British citizens; French oceanographer and Titanic expert Paul-Henri Nargeolet, 77, who had visited the wreck dozens of times; and Stockton Rush, the American founder and chief executive of OceanGate, who was piloting the submersible.

Rescue teams from several countries had spent days searching thousands of square miles of open seas with planes and ships for any sign of the 22-foot (6.7-meter) Titan. The submersible lost contact with its support ship on Sunday morning about an hour and 45 minutes into what should have been a two-hour descent.

Mauger said it was too early to tell when the vessel’s failure occurred. The search operation had sonar buoys in the water for more than three days and had not detected any sort of loud explosive noise during the period, Mauger said.

The buoys had picked up some sounds on Tuesday and Wednesday that temporarily offered hope the people on board the Titan were alive and trying to communicate by banging on the hull.

But officials said analysis of the sound was inconclusive and that the noises might not have emanated from the Titan at all.

“There doesn’t appear to be any relation between the noises and the location of the debris field on the sea floor,” Mauger said on Thursday.

Robotic craft on the ocean floor will continue to gather evidence, Mauger said, but it is not clear whether recovering the bodies will be possible given the nature of the accident and the extreme conditions at those depths.

Five major pieces of the Titan have been found, including most of the pressure hull, officials said.

Safety concerns

The search had grown increasingly desperate on Thursday, when the estimated 96-hour air supply was expected to run out if the Titan were still intact.

The Titanic, which sank in 1912 on its maiden voyage after hitting an iceberg, killing more than 1,500 people, lies about 900 miles (1,450 km) east of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and 400 miles (640 km) south of St. John’s, Newfoundland.

The expedition to the wreck, which OceanGate has been operating since 2021, cost $250,000 per person, according to OceanGate’s website.

Questions about Titan’s safety were raised in 2018 during a symposium of submersible industry experts and in a lawsuit by OceanGate’s former head of marine operations, which was settled later that year.

The sweeping search covered more than 10,000 square miles of ocean – about the size of the U.S. state of Massachusetts. On Thursday, the deployment of two specialized deep-sea unmanned vehicles expanded the search to the ocean’s depths, where immense pressure and pitch-black darkness complicated the mission.

The missing submersible and subsequent hunt captured worldwide attention, in part due to the mythology surrounding the Titanic. The “unsinkable” British passenger liner has inspired both nonfiction and fiction accounts for a century, including the James Cameron blockbuster 1997 movie, which rekindled popular interest in the story.


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