All five passengers aboard a submersible that went missing near the Titanic’s wreckage died in an instant, according to the US Coast Guard, after their vessel suffered a “catastrophic implosion” in the ocean depths.
The mournful decision marked the end of a multinational search-and-rescue operation that has captivated the world since the tiny tourist ship went missing four days ago in the North Atlantic.
Rear Admiral John Mauger told reporters in Boston that investigation showed debris found on the bottom 1,600 feet (500 meters) from the Titanic’s bow was consistent with the sub’s pressure chamber implosion.
“On behalf of the United States Coast Guard and the entire unified command, I offer my deepest condolences to the families,” Mauger said.
On board were British adventurer Hamish Harding, French submarine expert Paul-Henri Nargeolet, Pakistani-British tycoon Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman, and Stockton Rush, CEO of OceanGate Expeditions, which operates the sub.
OceanGate said its “hearts are with these five souls and every member of their families during this tragic time.”
“These men were true explorers who shared a distinct spirit of adventure, and a deep passion for exploring and protecting the world’s oceans,” it said in a statement.
“We grieve the loss of life and joy they brought to everyone they knew.”
Earlier Thursday, the Coast Guard stated that an underwater robot had detected a “debris field” in the search area.