Coastguard Undertakes Precautions as They Retrieve Debris from Titan Sub, Anticipating Potential Encounter with Human Remains
Investigation into the fatal implosion of OceanGate Titan submersible underway.
The investigation into the catastrophic implosion of the OceanGate Titan submersible, which resulted in the death of five individuals, is being conducted with utmost caution as investigators anticipate the possibility of encountering human remains at the site. Last week, a massive search and rescue mission was launched in the North Atlantic after the submersible lost contact during a planned dive to the Titanic wreck site. Debris found later indicated that an implosion had occurred, leading to the fatalities of all those on board.
The individuals on the ill-fated craft were OceanGate CEO and co-founder Stockton Rush, father and son Shahzada and Suleman Dawood, French diver Paul-Henri Nargeolet, and British billionaire Hamish Harding.
Currently, maritime authorities from the United States and Canada are investigating the events leading up to the submersible's implosion. This includes searching the ocean and analyzing communications between the submersible and the pilot ship before contact was lost. The US Coast Guard has summoned a Marine Board of Investigation, the highest level of investigation available, which will determine the cause of the tragedy and decide whether criminal or civil proceedings are warranted.
Salvage operations are still ongoing at the accident site, as confirmed by Captain Jason Neubauer. Once the investigation concludes, a comprehensive report containing conclusions, evidence, and recommendations will be released.
Captain Neubauer stated, "I'm not providing detailed information about the recovery operations, but we are taking all necessary precautions in case we encounter any human remains. At this time, one of the investigation's priorities is to recover items from the sea floor."
Assisting in the investigation are the US Transportation Safety Board, the Canadian equivalent, the French Marine Casualties Investigation Board, and the UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch.
Interviews are being conducted with the crew of the Titan's mothership, Polar Prince, which has returned to port in St John's, Newfoundland. The investigators have been dispatched to gather information, conduct interviews, and assess the incident, according to the US TSB.
The crew members are being interviewed to extract information from the vessel's voyage data recorder and other systems that may contain valuable data, stated TSB chair Kathy Fox.
Prior to this tragic dive, safety concerns had been raised about the Titan. A former contractor claimed to have emailed Stockton Rush directly in 2018 to express concerns. Additionally, a 2018 lawsuit alleged that the vessel had visible flaws that were reportedly overlooked by the company's senior management.
A group of submarine experts also voiced unanimous concern in a letter after the company failed to seek external evaluation and classification before taking paying customers to the Titanic wreck site.
A 2019 post on the OceanGate website stated that the company did not pursue classification for the submersible, as inspections of this nature do not guarantee adherence to proper operating procedures and decision-making processes, which are crucial for mitigating risks at sea.
As of now, the company has not commented on the safety concerns raised about the submersible. However, they have released a statement expressing their condolences and mourning the loss of those on board.