A debris field has reportedly been discovered by searchers involved in the effort to recover a missing submersible that was lost on Sunday near the vicinity of the Titanic wreckage (Updated, 3:11 PM ET, 6/22/23).
“A debris field was discovered within the search area by an ROV near the Titanic,” read a Tweet posted by the 1st U.S. Coast Guard District in Boston, Massachusetts.
“Experts within the unified command are evaluating the information,” the Tweet added.
A debris field was discovered within the search area by an ROV near the Titanic. Experts within the unified command are evaluating the information. 1/2
The search effort, led by the United States Coast Guard with assistance from international partners, has focused on an area approximately 900 miles off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, since the small submersible was reported lost after a Canadian research ship, the MV Polar Prince, lost contact with the craft and its crew.
Hopes that the passengers could be saved have dwindled amidst reports that the vessel’s oxygen levels would likely be incapable of supporting its crew beyond Thursday morning, despite reports in recent days of banging sounds detected by sonar devices on Wednesday.
On Thursday morning, additional ROVs were deployed to assist in the deep Atlantic search for the Titan around one of the world’s most famous ship wreckage sites.
UPDATE, 1:51 PM ET: It has been reported that amidst the debris field announced in a U.S. Coast Guard Tweet earlier this afternoon that “a landing frame and a rear cover from the submersible” are believed to have been detected.
The information was first provided to the BBC by marine scientist and shipwreck hunter David Mearns, who reportedly learned of the information from Richard Garriot, President of New York-based Explorer’s Club.
On Tuesday, a message from Garriot was posted to the Explorer’s Club Twitter account, which expressed sympathies for the five lost crew members and their families.
UPDATE, 3:11 PM ET: During a press conference on Thursday afternoon, Rear Adm. John Mauger said that the debris field detected by ROVs during the search effort “is consistent with a catastrophic loss of the pressure chamber” of the Titan submersible vessel.
“On behalf of the United States Coast Guard and the entire unified command, I offer my deepest condolences to the families.”
“I can only imagine what this has been like for them,” Mauger added, “and I hope that this discovery offers some solace during this difficult time.”
Mauger characterized the search operation as “robust” and said the U.S. Coast Guard was “grateful for the rapid mobilization of experts” who aided in the search.
Mauger said the ROVs will continue to operate in the area around the Titanic wreckage in an attempt to glean additional information about what conditions are believed to have led to the destruction of the Titan submersible.