Team of investigators to probe Titan submersible implosion
Investigators from the United States, UK, France and Canada are working together to try and figure out what caused a submersible to implode eight days ago.
All five people on board the Titan died.
Some 12,000 feet underwater near the wreckage of the ill-fated Titanic in the North Atlantic is where debris belonging to the Titan submersible was first found last Thursday.
Investigators say they have mapped out the crash site but don’t know how long it will take to salvage the Titan.
The U.S. Coast Guard’s Marine Board of Investigation will work with authorities from Canada, the U.K. and France.
Support staff lost contact with the doomed submersible one hour and 45 minutes into its descent to see the Titanic on June 18.
Victor Vescovo is a Dallas businessman and submersible pilot. He was friends with two of the victims, British adventurer Hamish Harding and French Titanic expert Paul-Henri Nargeolet.
“Unfortunately, this operator, OceanGate, had a design and operating procedures that many of us were extremely concerned about and even warned people not to participate in their expeditions,” he said.
The Titan’s unconventional design raised concerns well before the disaster.
Safety experts questioned whether its carbon-fiber hull could withstand the stress of repeated dives at incredible deep-sea pressure.
The company also criticized the process of third-party certification, a common practice in the industry to make sure sea vessels meet the highest standards.
Vescovo also knew OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, who piloted the Titan. Vescovo, who is an experienced deep-sea explorer, said he declined a previous offer to go down in the Titan. It operated in international waters far outside the legal jurisdiction of the U.S. and other nations.
“Given the type of submersible they had and how it being operated, it had been said many times by many of us in the community that we did feel that one day that something tragic like this could happen. And it did,” he said.
It’s not clear how long it will take to finish this investigation.
The Coast Guard board can make recommendations to prosecutors to pursue any civil or criminal penalties.