Coastguard finds multiple parts of destroyed Titanic sub after all five passengers die in 'catastrophic implosion'

22 June 2023, 19:56 | Updated: 23 June 2023, 10:11

Read the latest: 'United in grief': Families of Titanic sub tourists pay tribute after group dies in 'catastrophic implosion' near wreck

All of the passengers are believed to be dead.
All of the passengers are believed to be dead. Picture: Alamy/Facebook/Handouts

By Emma Soteriou

All five passengers on the missing Titanic sub are believed to be dead, the company which operates the vessel said.

The race to find the missing submarine came to a close on Thursday after days of searching, with officials saying the five men likely died on Sunday in a "catastrophic implosion".

Speaking at a final press conference on Thursday, Rear Admiral John Mauger of the US Coast Guard said: "The implosion would have generated a significant, broadband sound that the sonar buoys would have picked up." 

It would have meant an instant death for the whole group - some of which had spent $250,000 each to visit the Titanic wreckage.

A statement from Oceangate Expeditions confirmed that the passengers were presumed dead.

"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," it read.

"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.

"This is an extremely sad time for our dedicated employees who are exhausted and grieving deeply over this loss.

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Submersible lost on dive to Titanic suffered 'catastrophic implosion', say US Coast Guard

A graphic map of the search patterns used in the search for the 21-foot submersible Titan
A graphic map of the search patterns used in the search for the 21-foot submersible Titan. Picture: Alamy

"The entire OceanGate family is deeply grateful for the countless men and women from multiple organizations of the international community who expedited wide-ranging resources and have worked so very hard on this mission.

"We appreciate their commitment to finding these five explorers, and their days and nights of tireless work in support of our crew and their families. This is a very sad time for the entire explorer community, and for each of the family members of those lost at sea.

"We respectfully ask that the privacy of these families be respected during this most painful time."

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The US coast guard gave an update on Thursday evening
The US coast guard gave an update on Thursday evening. Picture: Video screengrab

It comes after experts leading the search effort for the submersible found a 'debris field' near the wreck of the Titanic.

Mr Mauger confirmed that the debris was from the missing submersible during a press conference on Thursday.

"The debris is consistent with a catastrophic loss of the pressure chamber. Upon this determination we immediately notified the families", he said.

He added: “On behalf of the US Coast Guard and the entire unified command I offer my deepest condolences to the families.

“I hope that this discovery provides some solace during this difficult time.”

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Officials said five major pieces were detected amid the debris. Among them was a nose cone and a larger debris field.

They also confirmed that there appeared to be no connection between the banging noises previously heard and the location on the sea floor.

The US Coast Guard said it will continue to investigate the site of the debris field as it is too early to tell what the timing of the implosion was.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly described the update as "tragic news" and said the UK Government is closely supporting the British families affected.

Pakistan's Foreign Ministry offered its "deepest condolences" to the Dawood family and the families of other passengers.

In a Twitter post, a spokesman said: "We appreciate the multi-national efforts over the last several days in search of the vessel."