Debris and suspected human remains from the Titan submersible have been recovered and brought ashore, the U.S. Coast Guard said late Wednesday, nearly a week after an international search and rescue operation ended and the presumed death of the ship’s five passengers.
At a Canadian Coast Guard wharf in St. John’s, Newfoundlandon Wednesday, crews unloaded what appeared to be the 22ft hull of the Titan, crumpled and twisted with exposed wires and cables. Footage from The Canadian Press showed what appeared to be a piece of hull coating and other debris being unloaded from the Horizon Arctic, a ship that had deployed a remotely operated vehicle to search for the submersible at the bottom of the ocean.
The debris will be transported to a US port where the Marine Board of Investigation will conduct further analysis and testing. U.S. medical professionals “will conduct a formal analysis of the suspected human remains that were carefully recovered from wreckage at the incident site,” the Coast Guard said in a statement.
In a statement, Pelagic Research Services, which led the deep-sea recovery effort, said it had “successfully completed offshore operations” and was being demobilized, marking the end of a mission. and a return to base of operations. The company did not confirm the wreckage belonged to the Titan, saying the investigation was continuing, and referred questions to the US Coast Guard.
A crew “has been working around the clock for 10 days now, through the physical and mental challenges of this operation, and look forward to completing the mission and returning to loved ones,” Pelagic Research Services said in its statement.
Why it matters: Debris could lead to clues
J. Carl Hartsfield, designer of underwater vehicles at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, said the recovered debris could contain vital information about what exactly happened to the Titan. Mr Hartsfield said investigators would be looking for three things: a point of failure in the hull, how pieces of carbon fiber and titanium, the materials of the submersible, were connected; and whether any electronic data was recoverable.
But it won’t be as simple as examining a black box, as investigators do in plane or train crashes. Mr Hartsfield said he thought it was ‘highly unlikely’ the submersible would have a central data logger in the event of a disaster. But, he said, the data is recorded in different places — hard drives, sonar images and possibly even cameras — that could help investigators begin to paint a story of what happened.
The US Coast Guard is investigating why the submersible imploded and convened a maritime inquiry commission, the highest level of Coast Guard investigation. The council is working closely with other national and international bodies that responded to the event, including authorities in Canada, the UK and France. There is no timetable for the investigation.
Mr Hartsfield, who was consulted during the search but was not involved in recovery efforts, said an investigation could take 18 to 24 months.
“It seems long, but there is a lot to do,” he said.
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada said in a statement late Wednesday that it had inspected, documented and cataloged the wreckage of the Titan and turned it over to the U.S. Coast Guard.
He added that he had completed his preliminary interviews and documents related to the submersible’s apparent implosion and that the Polar Prince’s data recorder, which includes audio from inside the ship’s deck, was in his lab in Ottawa for analysis.
Context: a “catastrophic implosion”
Nearly two weeks ago, five people set off in a submersible vessel to view the remains of the Titanic 12,500 feet under the sea. But not even two hours into the dive, the craft has lost communications.
A few days later, debris from the ship was found at the bottom of the ocean, including the Titan’s tail cone and other parts, approximately 1,600 feet from the bow of the Titanic wreck. The discovery suggested a “catastrophic implosion” with no survivors, according to the US Coast Guard.
THE victims included the founder of the company that operated it, a British businessman and explorer who held several Guinness World Records, a father and son from a prominent Pakistani family and a French marine surveyor.
edward medina And Ian Austen contributed report.
Originalmente publicado em https://www.nytimes.com/2023/06/28/world/titan-submersible-debris-recovered.html