US Coast Guard says 'presumed human remains' found in Titan wreck

The cause of the catastrophic implosion is being investigated and may be down to the carbon fiber used in the construction.
Ameya Paleja
Salvaged pieces of Titan submersible from OceanGate Expeditions are returned, in St. John's harbor.
Salvaged pieces of Titan submersible from OceanGate Expeditions are returned, in St. John's harbor.


Debris and evidence recovered from the seafloor at the site of the Titan submersible include "presumed human remains," the US Coast Guard said in a press release. The carefully recovered remains will be formally analyzed by US medical professionals.

Operated by OceanGate, the Titan submersible began its descent to the wreckage of Titanic on the morning of June 18 with five passengers onboard. During the dive, approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes in, the submersible lost contact with its carrier ship, Polar Prince, and failed to resurface as scheduled.

An extensive hunt for its whereabouts ran into multiple days, but the US Coast Guard then called off the search and rescue operations. Last week, the service confirmed that a debris field had been found in the search area and is now engaged in recovering the debris in an attempt to understand what went wrong on the submersible.

Debris recovery

A remotely operated vehicle (ROV), Odysseus 6K from Pelagic Research Services, has been engaged in debris recovery operations. Since it arrived at the site, the ROV has made at least four dives to the debris field, and its heavy lift capabilities have been used to bring the remains onshore.

Images captured at the Canadian Coast Guard pier in St. John’s, Newfoundland, showed white panel-like pieces - taller than average humans being brought onto land. One piece was covered in a white tarp with multiple cords and wires attached. Details of which parts have been recovered have not been revealed so far.

Crew members have been working round the clock at the site, which is two miles (3.2 kilometers) deep in the North Atlantic, for the past ten days. Much work remains to be done, and investigations need to be conducted before the cause of the catastrophic implosion can be found.

The Carbon Fiber raises doubt

The US Coast Guard has convened a Marine Board of Investigation, the highest level it conducts to probe the cause of the implosion. Canadian police are also ascertaining if it needs to launch a criminal investigation into the matter.

While the findings of these probes will take months to be revealed, experts have pointed to the carbon fiber used in the construction of the vessel as the likely weakness that led to the incident.

A Futurism report claimed that OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush bought the carbon fiber at a "huge discount from Boeing" because it was past its shelf life for use in airplanes. Interesting Engineering has previously reported that the submersible was built within a tight six-week deadline and OceanGate dismissed appeals to have it tested by experts and regulators.

The submersible was built using Titanium and carbon fiber and experts told the New York Times that spaces where these two materials met may have allowed the water to seep in.

At that depth, a small crack no wider than a hair could lead to a catastrophic end in seconds and it is likely that the occupants did not even know what was happening before death took over.

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