June 22, 2023 - Missing Titanic sub crew killed after 'catastrophic implosion'

By Helen Regan, Adam Renton, Rob Picheta, Aditi Sangal, Elise Hammond, Matt Meyer, Tori B. Powell and Maureen Chowdhury, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, June 23, 2023
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3:36 p.m. ET, June 22, 2023

The size of the debris field is consistent with an "implosion in the water column," expert says

The size of the debris field discovered in the search efforts "is consistent with that implosion in the water column," according to an expert speaking at the news briefing on the Titan sub.

The location of the submersible was in an area that was approximately 1,600 feet from the wreck of the Titanic, which is an area that does not have any Titanic debris, the expert said, noting that it is a smooth bottom per his knowledge.

"Again, 200 plus meters (656 feet) from the bow, and consistent with the location of last communication for an implosion in the water column. And the size of the debris field is consistent with that implosion in the water column," he said Thursday.

US Coast Guard Rear Adm. John Mauger also noted that it's too early to tell the timing of the catastrophic implosion.

"We know that as we've been prosecuting this search over the course of the last 72 hours and beyond, that we've had sonar buoys in the water nearly continuously and have not detected any catastrophic events when those sonar buoys have been in the water," he said.

3:23 p.m. ET, June 22, 2023

Debris field consistent with "catastrophic implosion," US Coast Guard says

From CNN staff

US Coast Guard Rear Admiral John Mauger speaks during a press conference in Boston on Thursday.
US Coast Guard Rear Admiral John Mauger speaks during a press conference in Boston on Thursday. Brian Snyder/Reuters

The debris is consistent with a “catastrophic implosion” of the vessel, Rear Adm. John Mauger, the First Coast Guard District commander announced.

Mauger made the remarks after he was asked about the prospects of recovering crew members of the Titan.

“This is an incredibly unforgiving environment down there on the sea floor and the debris is consistent with a catastrophic implosion of the vessel,” Mauger said.

“We’ll continue to work and search the area down there but I don’t have an answer for prospects at this time,” he added.

5:38 p.m. ET, June 22, 2023

Coast Guard: Search of area will continue but prospects of recovering deceased passengers unclear

US Coast Guard Rear Adm. John Mauger said officials will continue to search the area to recover the deceased passengers of the Titanic-bound submersible but doesn’t “have an answer for prospects at this time.”

"This is an incredibly unforgiving environment down there on the sea floor," the official told reporters Thursday when asked during a news briefing about recovering the victims.

"And the debris is consistent with a catastrophic implosion of the vessel, and so we'll continue to work and continue to search the area down there, but I don't have an answer for prospects at this time,” he added.

3:37 p.m. ET, June 22, 2023

Crews located 5 major pieces of debris that helped identify remains of Titan

Search crews discovered "five different major pieces of debris" identified from the Titan submersible, according to Paul Hankins, the US Navy's director of salvage operations and ocean engineering.

The nose cone, located outside the pressure hull, was the first piece found, Hankins said at the US Coast Guard news conference Thursday. Then, they found "a large debris field," which had an end bell of the pressure hull.

"That was the first indication that there was a catastrophic event," the official said.

Crews found a second, smaller debris field within the first, where the other end of the pressure hull was located.

"We continue to map the debris field and, as the admiral said, we will do the best we can to fully map out what's down there," Hankins said.

3:10 p.m. ET, June 22, 2023

Coast Guard says officials are still working through timeline of sub's failure

It will take time to determine a specific timeline of events in the "incredibly complex" case of the Titan sub's catastrophic failure, US Coast Guard Rear Adm. John Mauger told reporters.

Officials are sorting through an "incredibly complex operating environment on the sea floor, over 2 miles beneath the surface," Mauger said at a news conference in Boston.

He said the remotely operating vehicles searching the floor are "highly capable" and will reveal more information.

Mauger said the Coast Guard will eventually have more information about what went wrong with the sub, and their assessment of the emergency response.

3:10 p.m. ET, June 22, 2023

US Coast Guard grateful for "rapid mobilization" of agencies in search for sub

US Coast Guard Rear Admiral John Mauger speaks during a press conference in Boston on Thursday.
US Coast Guard Rear Admiral John Mauger speaks during a press conference in Boston on Thursday. Brian Snyder/Reuters

US Coast Guard Rear Adm. John Mauger thanked experts and agencies for assisting with the search for the Titan submersible.

"The outpouring of support in this highly complex search operation has been robust and immensely appreciated. We are grateful for the rapid mobilization of experts on the undersea search and rescue, and we thank all of the agencies and personnel for their role in the response. We're also incredibly grateful for the full spectrum of international assistance that's been provided," he said Thursday.

3:10 p.m. ET, June 22, 2023

Information gathering will continue, US Coast Guard official says

The remotely operated vehicles will remain on scene and continue to gather information following the discovery of debris from the missing Titanic bound submersible, US Coast Guard's Rear Adm. John Mauger said Thursday.

One of the ROVs found the debris, as CNN reported earlier.

3:06 p.m. ET, June 22, 2023

Debris was "consistent with catastrophic loss of the pressure chamber," Coast Guard says

The debris found on the sea floor was "consistent with the catastrophic loss of the pressure chamber," the Coast Guard said.

The remotely operated vehicle (ROV) found the tail cone of the Titan on the sea floor about 1,600 feet away from the bow of the Titanic and other debris nearby, according to Rear Adm. John Mauger, the First Coast Guard District commander.

The debris was analyzed by experts, he said, and the families of the passengers were notified.

“I can only imagine what this has been like for them and I hope that this discovery provides some solace during this difficult time," Mauger said.

2:54 p.m. ET, June 22, 2023

OceanGate says it believes passengers on missing sub "have sadly been lost"

From left, Hamish Harding, Shahzada Dawood, Suleman Dawood, Paul-Henri Nargeolet and Stockton Rush
From left, Hamish Harding, Shahzada Dawood, Suleman Dawood, Paul-Henri Nargeolet and Stockton Rush Obtained by CNN

OceanGate said Thursday that it believes the passengers of the Titanic-bound submersible have “sadly been lost,” according to a statement from the company.

“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 company said in a statement.

“These men were true explorers who shared a distinct spirit of adventure, and a deep passion for exploring and protecting the world’s oceans,” according to the statement. “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 company added:

"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."