“Suspected human remains” have been discovered among the wreckage of the missing sightseeing submersible with five people on board in the North Atlantic near the wreck of the Titanic, the US Coast Guard said in a statement.
“Carefully collected from the wreckage at the site of the accident”, these human remains as well as the debris of the found machine will be analyzed, something which should provide “crucial elements of understanding of the cause of this tragedy”. said Captain Jason Neubauer, who is leading the Coast Guard investigation.
As a reminder, Titan, a small submersible about 6.5 meters long and operated by a private company, had dived on June 18 to observe the wreck of the Titanic and was to resurface seven hours later.
However, contact had been lost less than two hours after his departure, and from then on a vast rescue operation had been engaged in an attempt to save the five explorers.
The submersible had, shortly after its dive, been hit by a “catastrophic implosion” causing the death of the five explorers on the spot.
Debris from the Titan, found on the seabed some 500 meters away and at a depth of nearly 4,000 meters, was brought back to earth on Wednesday, in Saint John of Newfoundland, in eastern Canada.
They should now be transferred by a US Coast Guard vessel to a port in the United States, where investigators can analyze them.
Canadian media showed pieces of what appeared to be the submersible’s nose and parts of the hull.
To scan the bottom of the Atlantic, one of the managers of the company Pelagic Research Services, had deployed his underwater remote-controlled robot (ROV), and confirmed that he had completed his operations.
“We have finished our part at sea,” their spokesman, Jeff Mahoney, told AFP. “It was an extremely risky operation, both for the ROV and for the team, who worked around the clock, with virtually no sleep for the duration of the operation,” he said. continued, confirming that all teams were now returning to the United States.
For his part, Captain Jason Neubauer praised the international and inter-agency efforts made “to recover and preserve this crucial evidence at an extreme distance from the coast and at extreme depth”, according to the United States Coast Guard press release.
As for the families of the victims, Christine Dawood, who tragically lost her husband Shahzada and her son Suleman in the accident, revealed that she intended to participate in this adventure, but that she withdrew so that his son can go in his place.
Christine told the BBC in her first interview since the tragedy that the family had been planning the excursion in the Submersible Titan for some time. However, the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted their plans, leading to a postponement.
“I took a step back and gave way to Suleman, because he really wanted to go. I was really happy for them because they both wanted to do this for a very long time,” said Christine Dawood.
Several investigations have been opened by Canada and the United States to determine the causes of the implosion of the submersible.
Critics multiplied after the Titan’s disappearance on possible negligence by the company Oceangate Expeditions in its design. A former manager of the company had in particular expressed serious doubts about the safety of the device, whose porthole would not have been designed to withstand such depths.
“A lot of work remains to understand the factors that led to the catastrophic loss of the Titan and help ensure that such a tragedy never happens again,” Captain Neubauer concluded Wednesday.