Relatives mourn Titanic sub deaths after ‘catastrophic implosion’

Relatives and colleagues mourned on Friday five people who died when their submersible imploded in the North Atlantic during a deep dive to the Titanic wreck, triggering questions from experts about safety rules for such adventures.

Debris from the Titan submersible, which had been missing since Sunday, was detected on Thursday by a robotic diving vehicle deployed from a Canadian ship as part of an international rescue effort.

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Remains of the submersible, which lost contact with a surface ship about 1 hour and 45 minutes into a 2-hour descent, were discovered on the seabed about 1,600 feet (488 meters) from the bow of Titanic wreck, about 2-1/2 miles (4 km) below the surface , U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral John Mauger said.

He told reporters on Thursday the debris was consistent with “a catastrophic implosion of the vehicle.”

The five who died included Stockton Rush, U.S. founder and chief executive officer of OceanGate Expeditions, which operated the submersible and charged $250,000 per person to make the Titanic trip. He was piloting the craft.

The others were British billionaire and explorer Hamish Harding, 58; Pakistani-born businessman Shahzada Dawood, 48, and his 19-year-old son, Suleman, both British citizens; and French oceanographer and Paul-Henri Nargeolet, 77.

“These men were true explorers who shared a distinct spirit of adventure, and a deep passion for exploring and protecting the world’s oceans,” OceanGate said.

A statement issued by the British Asian Trust on behalf of the Dawood family read: “With profound sorrow, we mourn the tragic loss of Shahzada and his beloved son, Suleman, who had embarked on a journey to visit the remnants of the legendary Titanic in the depths of the Atlantic Ocean.”

Worldwide media coverage of the search overshadowed the aftermath of a far greater disaster from the wreck of a migrant vessel off Greece last week that killed hundreds of people.

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Teams from the U.S., Canada, France and Britain had spent days scanning a vast swathe of open sea for the Titan.

A marine app showed the French research ship Atalante, which had raced to the area at the U.S. Navy’s request, was still in the vicinity on Friday. It only reached the search area on Thursday with its deep-sea robot.

Source – Reuter

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