Coast Guard offers update on deadly Titan submersible implosion nearly one year later

OceanGate's Titan submersible suffered a 'catastrophic implosion' on June 18, 2023, while it was descending to the Titanic wreck, killing all five men onboard

Nearly a year after five people died when the OceanGate Titan submersible imploded on its way down to view the Titanic, the U.S. Coast Guard has given an update on its investigation into the tragedy. 

The Coast Guard said Friday it is still "actively investigating" the factors that led to the deaths of U.K. billionaire Hamish Harding, OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, father-son pair Shahzada Dawood and Suleman Dawood, and French mariner Paul-Henry Nargeolet, but it "will take longer than initially projected to complete." 

The five men were killed on June 18 last year, an hour and 45 minutes into the submersible’s trek to the bottom of the North Atlantic, where the doomed Titanic sits at the dangerous depth of 12,500 feet below the surface. 

"The investigation into the implosion of the Titan submersible is a complex and ongoing effort," said the Coast Guard’s Marine Board Investigation (MBI) Chair Jason Neubauer. "We are working closely with our domestic and international partners to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the incident."


OceanGate tourist submersible

An undated photo shows OceanGate's Titan submersible, which imploded on June 18, 2023.  (Ocean Gate/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The Coast Guard originally said it expected the investigation to be done in a year, but Friday's release stated factors have extended it, including the need to contract two salvage missions to get vital evidence, as well as required extensive forensic testing. 

"We’re grateful for the international and inter-agency cooperation which has been vital in recovering, preserving and forensically testing evidence from a remote offshore region and extreme depth," Neubauer said. "The MBI is committed to ensuring that we fully understand the factors that led to this tragedy in order to prevent similar occurrences in the future."


The MBI said it planned to hold a public hearing session by the end of the year in regard to the investigation. 

Portraits of the five crew members of the missing OceanGate Titan sub

Inset, from left: Suleman Dawood, Shahzada Dawood, Stockton Rush; Paul-Henry Nargeolet and Hamish Harding were all killed when the Titan submersible imploded. (Engro Corp. | Reuters/Shannon Stapleton | @OceanGateExped/Twitter | Felix Kunze/Blue Origin via AP | Ocean Gate/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

"As the one-year anniversary date approaches, the MBI extends its deepest condolences to the families and friends of the five individuals who lost their lives during the incident," the Coast Guard said in the release. 

After the submersible lost contact with its mothership last year, a nearly week-long search was launched to find the vessel, with investigators initially thinking the passengers may have still been alive and trapped with limited oxygen. 

The debris from the Titan was found four days later not far from the wreckage of the Titanic and was eventually brought to the surface for the investigation. 

Coat Guard presser on Titan sub implosion last year

The U.S. Coast Guard holds a press conference on June 22, 2023, to announce that a debris field had been located near where the submersible Titan went missing. (Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images/File)

The Coast Guard confirmed the men were killed by a "catastrophic implosion" of the vessel, adding that the Navy had heard an underwater noise consistent with an implosion on June 18, at the time the Titan lost contact. 

After the submersible was recovered later in June last year, the Coast Guard said that "presumed human remains" had been found.

Titan debris

Debris from the Titan submersible, recovered from the ocean floor near the wreck of the Titanic, is unloaded from the ship Horizon Arctic at the Canadian Coast Guard pier in St. John's, Newfoundland, June 28, 2023. (Paul Daly/The Canadian Press via AP/File)

"United States medical professionals will conduct a formal analysis of presumed human remains that have been carefully recovered within the wreckage at the site of the incident," the MBI said at the time. 

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