Will the bodies on the Titan be recovered? US Coast Guard reveals difficulties

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It is believed the Titan suffered from a catastrophic implosion

The five passengers on the Titan submersible that was lost in a "catastrophic implosion" near the wreck of the Titanic may never be recovered. US officials said they are "not sure" if they can recover the bodies after the debris of the vessel was discovered on Thursday 22 June around 487 metres from the bow of the Titanic. 

In a press conference, Rear Admiral John Mauger of the US Coast Guard told reporters he could not say what the prospects were of recovering the bodies of those killed on the Titan expedition.

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Getty Images / Dawood Hercules Corporation / PA

Will the bodies on the Titan be recovered?

Rear Admiral Maugher said the bodies of the five passengers may never be recovered from the unforgiving sea. The five people in the vessel have been identified as Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his 19-year-old son Suleman Dawood, as well as CEO and founder of OceanGate Expeditions Stockton Rush, British billionaire explorer Hamish Harding, and renowned French diver Paul-Henri Nargeolet.

Real Admiral Maugher said: "This is an incredibly unforgiving environment down there on the sea floor and the debris is consistent with a catastrophic implosion of the vessel. And so we’ll continue to work and continue to search the area down there, but I don’t have an answer for prospects at this time.”

The Rear Admiral added that they will continue to investigate the site to try to give the families some answers. He said: “Our thoughts are with the families and making sure that they have an understanding as best as we can provide of what happened and begin to find some closure.

“In terms of the large process, we’re going to continue to investigate the site of the debris field and then I know that there’s also a lot of questions about how, why and when did this happen, and so those are questions that we will collect as much information as we can on now, while the governments are meeting and discussing what an investigation of this nature of a casualty might look like. 

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“This is something that happened, I’ll just remind everybody, this is something that happened in a remote portion of the ocean with people from, you know, several different countries around the world and so it is a complex case to work through but I’m confident that those questions will begin to get answered.”

Remote operations on the sea floor, which uses equipment such as the remote controlled believed which found the Titan's nose 487m from the Titanic wreckage, will continue. However, some vessels will begin to be demobilised over the next 24 hours. 

What happened to the Titan? 

Initially, a five-day search was underway to find the vessel as it was reported the passengers only had oxygen to last them until 11 am on 22 June. 

Time scales were tight, with both the US and Canadian Navy and Coast Guards searching for the missing sub. A lot of speculation about what happened to the vessel was reported, from an implosion to being caught in the wreckage of the Titanic disaster. However, in a news conference, the US Navy stated that a nose cone of the list submersible had been discovered by a remotely operated vehicle searching for the Titan about 487m from the bow of the Titanic on the seafloor. 

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He said: "This information was considered with the compilation of additional acoustic data provided by other partners and the decision was made to continue our mission as a search and rescue and make every effort to save the lives on board."

It is now believed the people inside the Titan have now died in a "catastrophic implosion". Former Ryan Ramsey told Sky News that one of two things may have happened: 

• The hatch with bolts used to seal the crew in from the outside suffered a failure that caused the hull to collapse

• The pressure hull itself had a defect that fractured from the pressure and caused the same result

An implosion is sudden and instantaneous. Under the intense pressure of the water, it would look like a bubble, created by the weight of the water, and would make debris fly away with the pressure. 

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