Debris from the Titan was brought ashore by deep-sea robots on Wednesday as the US Coast Guard continues recovery operations following the sub’s catastrophic implosion.
The Titan’s wreckage was seen for the first time in pictures after the Coast Guard announced on 22 June that ROVs (remotely-operated vehicles) found its chambers in a sea of debris 1,600ft from the bow of the Titanic, roughly 12,000ft below the ocean surface.
Pelagic Research Services, the company that operated the ROV that made the previous debris findings, said on Wednesday that its team had successfully completed off-shore operations and was now in the process of demobilisation after 10 days of work. The company said a press conference will be held later in the day.
Photos from the wharf show what appear to be several pieces of the submersible being lifted from the ship, including the nose cone with its distinctive circular window. The pieces were unloaded from the American ships Sycamore and Horizon Arctic at a port in St John’s, Newfoundland.
The US Coast Guard declined to comment on the investigation or the return of debris to shore. Representatives for the National Transportation Safety Board and Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB), which are both involved in the investigation, also declined to comment.
“We are not able to provide any additional information at this time as the investigation is ongoing,” said Liam MacDonald, a spokesperson for the TSB said.
The Coast Guard announced just hours later that “presumed human remains” had been found on the sea floor. They will now be formally analysed.
The CEO of the company that operated the Titan, Stockton Rush, British billionaire Hamish Harding, renowned French diver Paul-Henri Nargeolet and Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his 19-year-old son Suleman were aboard the Titan when it imploded last week.
The submersible lost contact with its mothership Polar Prince just one hour and 45 minutes into its descent to the wreck of the Titanic on 18 June, sparking a frantic four-day search. Canadian, American and French marine authorities and experts combed large portions of the ocean hoping to find signs of life, before the tragic developments on 22 June.
The Coast Guard said last week that the US Navy had detected sounds that matched an “implosion or explosion” sometime after the sub vanished and before rescue efforts were launched. Rescue efforts continued at the time because the information was not definitive, the Coast Guard said.
An international group of agencies is now investigating what may have caused the submersible to implode, and US maritime officials say they’ll issue a report aimed at improving the safety of submersibles worldwide.
The Coast Guard said over the weekend that salvage operations were ongoing, but recovery of the bodies will be difficult due to the “unforgiving condition” on the ocean floor. A final report will be issued by the International maritime Organisation.
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