The submersible lost since June 18 was set for the Titanic wreckage.
By Alex Portée
On Thursday, June 22, the submersible’s founding company and other officials confirmed that the five passengers on board, who were en route to explore the Titanic, are presumed deceased.
A fleet of ocean experts alongside First Coast Guard District honcho Rear Adm. John Mauger confirmed in a June 22 press meet that wreckage spotted on the ocean bed suggests a disastrous submersible blow-up. Conference member Paul Hanken identified five major fragments, including the submersible’s beak.
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s Carl Hartsfield disputed ideas that the submersible got tangled in the Titanic ruins, stating the implosion site didn’t align with the Titanic’s location.
“It’s in an area where there’s not any debris of the Titanic, it is a smooth bottom,” he said. “To my knowledge…there’s no Titanic wreckage in that area and again 200 plus meters from the bow, and consistent with the location of last communication for an implosion in the water column.” he noted. Thursday’s meeting left questions on potential recovery efforts hanging.
In a June 22 memo to NBC News, the company rep portrayed the loss of the five passengers as a heartbreaking day for the squad.
“We now believe that our CEO Stockton Rush, Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman Dawood, Hamish Harding, and Paul-Henri Nargeolet, have sadly been lost,” the note partly read.
“These men were true explorers who shared a distinct spirit of adventure and a deep passion for exploring and protecting the world’s oceans. Our hearts are with these five souls and every member of their families during this tragic time. We grieve the loss of life and joy they brought to everyone they knew.”
The memo continued to outline the extent of the search for the missing CEO and co-passengers.
“This is an extremely sad time for our dedicated employees, who are exhausted and grieving deeply over this loss. The entire OceanGate family is deeply grateful for the countless men and women from multiple organizations of the international community who expedited wide-ranging resources and have worked so very hard on this mission. We appreciate their commitment to finding these five explorers, and their days and nights of tireless work in support of our crew and their families.”
“This is a very sad time for the entire explorer community and for each of the family members of those lost at sea. We respectfully ask that the privacy of these families be respected during this most painful time.”
Earlier that day, the Coast Guard had reported finding a “debris field” within the search zone via a Twitter post.
“A debris field was discovered within the search area by an ROV near the Titanic,”the post read.