Titan submersible update: recovered wreckage from doomed sub returns to land — see the remains

The search for the missing Titan submersible came to a sad but conclusive end last week after debris were found near the wreck of the Titanic, consistent with a catastrophic implosion.

Today, pieces of the debris were recovered and returned to land, giving us a first glimpse of all that remains of the doomed sub.

The ship Arctic Horizon returned to port in St. John’s, Newfoundland today carrying shattered pieces of the OceanGate Titan. Pelagic Research Services had deployed a remotely operated vehicle to recover the debris.

Photos and videos show the crew unloading the recovered pieces of the sub onto the pier. The wreckage will be used in a Coast Guard investigation into the catastrophe, which claimed the lives of the five passengers on board.

In a press statement this morning, Pelagic Research Services said their team has “successfully completed off-shore operations” and “will be in the process of demobilization from the Horizon Arctic this morning.”

“They have been working around the clock now for ten days, through the physical and mental challenges of this operation, and are anxious to finish the mission and return to their loved ones.”

The team could not further comment on their recovery mission, due to confidentiality and duty of non-disclosure relating to the Coast Guard’s investigation. “Please respect the integrity of the ongoing Titan investigation,” they wrote.

The recovery of the debris comes ten days after the OceanGate submersible went missing, and six days after the debris were discovered on the ocean floor, which was found to be consistent with the “catastrophic loss” of the submersible’s pressure chamber.

The field of debris was found near the wreck of the Titanic, the sub’s destination: the Titan’s tail cone was found approximately 1,600 feet from the Titanic’s bow, emphasizing the chilling parallels between the two maritime disasters.

The passengers were British businessman Hamish Harding, OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, French explorer Paul-Henry Nargeolet, Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his teenage son Sulaiman. All are presumed dead.

The passengers paid $250,000 for what would have been an eight-day expedition to the wreck of the RMS Titanic. Concerns had previously been raised about the safety of the operation.

“This was a company that was already defying much of what we already know about submersible design,” Rachel Lance, a Duke University biomedical engineer who has studied physiological requirements of survival underwater, told CNN.

“I was very suspect of the technology that they were using. I wouldn’t have gotten in that sub,” film director and ocean explorer James Cameron told BBC, adding that he believes OceanGate “didn’t get certified because they knew they wouldn’t pass.”

It’s chilling to see these images of what remains of the Titan submersible — we hope that this recovered wreckage proves helpful in the investigation and helps prevent disasters like this in the future.

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