The reason the story of the Titanic has entranced people for as long as it has, 111 years now to be exact, is the level of Greek mythos-like hubris it encapsulates. A “perfect storm” of disregarded safety warnings, human ego, and imperfect circumstances all led to the luxury liner’s sinking in April 1912.
Captain Edward Smith knew the dangers of icebergs in the area, but White Star Line boss Bruce Ismay wanted the ship to make more headlines, urging Smith to speed through the icy sea fields in hopes of arriving to New York City earlier than planned, once again mystifying the public with Titanic’s greatness. After all, “God himself could not sink this ship,” right? Wrong. Forging ahead without binoculars in the crow’s nest, with too few life boats, and a rare weather event believed to have created a “fake horizon” for the lookouts, Titanic crashed into an iceberg on April 14, 1912, ultimately plummeting to its grave at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean at 2:20 a.m. on April 15, 1912.
Now, in June of 2023, five lives stepped aboard Titan — an OceanGate submersible designed to make that same voyage into the depths of the ocean to the site of the doomed ship’s resting place. Ever since Sunday, when news of it losing contact with those on land made headlines, the world has been fixated on its outcome. After days of search and rescue efforts, expert theories, and prayers for a miracle, we finally have some real answers.
Per a press conference with the U.S. Coast Guard and Rear Admiral John Mauger on Thursday, the worst has been confirmed. The tourist sub suffered a “catastrophic implosion,” as multiple pieces of the vessel have been found on the sea floor.
TIMING OF IMPLOSION
What they know for sure is it’s unlikely to have happened within the last three days. They explained in the briefing that during their time using sonar technologies, they never heard anything to suggest an implosion happened after the search with sonar began:
“We know that as we’ve been prosecuting this search over the course of the last 72 hours, we’ve had sonar buoys … and have not detected any catastrophic events.”
This is major. Since they could pick up sounds that could potentially be “banging” sounds, they obviously would have picked up something as large as an implosion. But they didn’t. So this would suggest the implosion happened before that equipment made it into the search, meaning the banging sounds weren’t coming from inside the submersible after all. While they’re hesitant to make any final conclusions just yet, noting it’s too early to determine such conclusions, the evidence so far is strong enough to believe Titan suffered its fate sometime early this week after we lost communication with Titan. It is still to be determined if it happened right as we lost contact with them on Sunday or sometime within the day after.
WHERE DID IT IMPLODE
A journalist asked if the vessel imploded in the Titanic or above. The answer?
“The location of the submersible was in the area that was approximately 1600 feet from the wreck of the Titanic. … It’s in an area where there is not any debris of Titanic, there is no Titanic wreckage in that area.”
BANGING SOUND ORIGINS
When asked to explain what the banging sounds were, since it’s no longer believed to have come from the sub, Mauger says:
“Throughout the search efforts, we reacted to the information we had available to us while we continued to send it off to deeper analysis. Really complex environment to work in. But there doesn’t appear to be any connection to the noises and the location of the sea floor. This was a catastrophic implosion of the vessel that would have created a significant sound that the [equipment] would have detected.”
Ultimately, the origins of the sounds are still unknown, but they’re now sure it wasn’t from the souls aboard the vessel.
After extending their “most heartfelt condolences to the loved ones of the crew,” noting the families of all five people aboard had previously been notified and detailed of their findings, officials explained:
“It is a difficult day for all us and for especially the families, and our thoughts are with the families today. … This was an incredibly complex case, and we’re still working to develop the details of the timeline involved with this casualty and the response. … Our thoughts are with the family, and making sure they have an understanding as best as we can provide. Begin to find some closure. …. We were able to mobilize an incredible amount of gear to the site in a remarkable amount of time. … a huge international and inter-agency effort to make this happen. … In terms of the large process, we’re going to continue to investigate the site of the debris field. … This is something that happened in a remote portion of the ocean with people from several different countries from all over the world, so this is a complex case to work through. … We will begin to demobilise personnel and vessels from the scene over the course of the next 24 hours, but we are going to continue remote operations on the sea floor.”
We will keep you updated as more information comes in.
May the souls of Hamish Harding, 58, Shahzada Dawood , 48, his son Suleman, 19, Paul-Henry Nargeole, 77, and Stockton Rush, 61, rest in peace. May all the souls of those ever lost at sea rest in peace.
Watch for yourself (below):
Rear Adm. John Mauger provides an update on the missing submersible passengers. https://t.co/XMEALrrExH
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) June 22, 2023
[Image via NBC News/YouTube.]