When did missing Titan submersible implode? US Navy detection system reports explained - sounds heard days ago

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A military detection system used to monitor enemy submarines heard sounds “consistent” with the blast which sadly killed all five men aboard the Titan

The US Navy detected sounds “consistent with an implosion or explosion” just hours after OceanGate’s Titan submersible began its fatal voyage, a senior military official has said.

Five people were aboard the deep-sea vessel when it went missing during a dive to the Titanic wreck site on Sunday (18 June). A huge search mission was launched after contact with the tourist expedition was lost, but on Thursday (22 June), the US Coast Guard confirmed that the Titan had imploded, killing all passengers.

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Those who died were Hamish Harding, Shahzada Dawood, Suleman Dawood, Stockton Rush, and Paul-Henri Nargeolet. Shortly after the crew’s oxygen supply was believed to have run out, Rear Admiral John Mauger of the First Coast Guard District told a press conference that debris found near the wreckage of the Titanic “is consistent with a catastrophic implosion of the vessel”.

However, it has now been revealed that a top-secret acoustic detection system used by the US Navy to spot enemy submarines heard an “anomaly” which was “consistent with an implosion or explosion” on the same day the submersible went missing. The sounds had been heard “in the general vicinity” of where the Titan was operating “when communications were lost”.

According to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the development, the Navy passed on the information from its underwater microphones to the Coast Guard back on Monday, but the search continued as military officials did not consider the data to be definitive. The Navy asked that the system, used to detect and monitor enemy submarines, not be identified due to national security concerns.

The US Navy detected sounds “consistent with an implosion or explosion” just hours after OceanGate’s Titan submersible began its fatal voyage, a senior military official has said. Credit: Kim Mogg / NationalWorldThe US Navy detected sounds “consistent with an implosion or explosion” just hours after OceanGate’s Titan submersible began its fatal voyage, a senior military official has said. Credit: Kim Mogg / NationalWorld
The US Navy detected sounds “consistent with an implosion or explosion” just hours after OceanGate’s Titan submersible began its fatal voyage, a senior military official has said. Credit: Kim Mogg / NationalWorld | Kim Mogg / NationalWorld

In a statement to the Wall Street Journal, a military official said: “The U.S. Navy conducted an analysis of acoustic data and detected an anomaly consistent with an implosion or explosion in the general vicinity of where the Titan submersible was operating when communications were lost.

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“While not definitive, this information was immediately shared with the Incident Commander to assist with the ongoing search and rescue mission.” In a further statement to the Associated Press, the Navy confirmed that it had discovered the “anomaly” when it re-analysed its data after the news that the Titan had gone missing first broke.

Mark Cancian, a senior adviser with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told The Telegraph he would have been “surprised” if the US Navy’s sensors had not detected the implosion.

He said: “They suspected what happened but couldn’t be sure. What you’re looking at is just lines on a graph. And if you try to convince people you weren’t doing a search because the lines on a graph indicated an implosion, that wouldn’t be acceptable to many.”

Announcing the death of those onboard the Titan on Thursday (22 June), Rear Admiral Mauger said the US Coastguard had found debris “consistent with the catastrophic loss of the pressure chamber”. He continued: “Upon this determination, we immediately notified the families.

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“On behalf of the United States Coast Guard and the entire unified command, I offer my deepest condolences to the families. I can only imagine what this has been like for them. I hope that this discovery provides some solace during this difficult time.”

He added that a recovery attempt for the bodies would continue, but he was uncertain whether it would be successful, explaining: “This is an incredibly unforgiving environment down there on the sea floor. 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.”

A statement from OceanGate which was released to the BBC on Thursday (22 June) said: “We now believe that our CEO Stockton Rush, Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman Dawood, Hamish Harding, and Paul-Henri Nargeolet, have sadly been lost.

“These men were true explorers who shared a distinct spirit of adventure, and a deep passion for exploring and protecting the world’s oceans. Our hearts are with these five souls and every member of their families during this tragic time. We grieve the loss of life and joy they brought to everyone they knew.”

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