Doomed Titanic subs remains were found almost immediately by rescue robot

OceanGate Expeditions explore wreck of The Titanic in 2022

A rescue robot sent in the search of the missing OceanGate Titan submersible found its remains “almost immediately”, the head of the search revealed.

Ed Cassano, the chief executive of the New York-based Pelagic Research Services, got emotional during a news conference held at the company headquarters in East Aurora, NY, where he looked back at the moment the rescue effort turned into a recovery operation. 

He confirmed the company’s ROV vehicle discovered the vessel’s remains four days after it was reported missing. 

“Shortly after we arrived on the sea floor, we discovered the debris of the Titan submersible. By 12 o’clock, sadly, a rescue turned into a recovery,” he said. 

The ROV Odysseus 6K made its way to the site of the Titanic on June 22 at 5am after the sub lost contact with the mothership one hour and 45 minutes into the expedition.

It was the only robot used during the search that was able to reach the depths of the Titanic wreckage, the Mirror reports. 

Stockton Rush, 61, OceanGate’s founder, Paul-Henri Nargeolet, 77, Shahzada Dawood, 48; his 19-year-old son Suleman; and Hamish Harding, 58, a billionaire explorer, all lost their lives.

Mr Cassano said he had envisaged four possible scenarios, with the best being that the submersible was resting on the seafloor but had lost the power to come back up. 

He said: “The plan was to grab the Titan. The sub was not being tracked. We didn’t know where it was….it’s essential for safe operations. The plan was to grab the Titan, and once we’d grabbed the Titan, manipulate it. Then we had her.

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“Then it was going to be attaching beacons…so if we lost her, other assets could track her. At that point we would begin recovery.

“Once we came through 3,000m, these other vehicles could join us.”

His team focused on rescuing the five-member crew as many feared of the oxygen running out on Thursday (June 22).   

But following a massive search-and-rescue effort, officials recovered five fragments of the sub last week, including the vessel’s tail cone and two sections of the pressure hell, which had been discovered less than 500m from the bow of the Titanic wreckage. 

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Rear-Admiral John Mauger of the US coastguard said the wreckage was consistent with “a catastrophic implosion of the vehicle.”

Mr Cassano said he was “proud of the performance of our system” but was “very saddened we couldn’t recover a viable sub”.

“Presumed human remains” were also recovered from the submersible’s wreckage which were sent off for testing.

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