Frightening Titan communication logs between doomed sub and mothership were faked, US investigators say

11 June 2024, 07:02 | Updated: 11 June 2024, 08:13

The Titan sub failed last June
The Titan sub failed last June. Picture: Handout

By Kit Heren

Communication logs detailing conversations between the doomed Titan submersible and its mother ship have been revealed as fake.

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Five people died after the submersible disappeared in June 2023, sparking an international rescue effort as experts raced to find the 21-foot vessel in the days before its oxygen supplies ran out.

However, it later emerged that the sub had suffered a catastrophic implosion because of the massive water pressure exerted on the hull.

Onboard were owner Stockton Rush, UK billionaire Hamish Harding, French explorer Paul Henry Nargeolet, Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his 19-year-old son, Suleman.

The 'transcript' of conversations between the Titan's crew and the control ship on the surface purported to show that the five men were in a state of stress, trying to deal with glitches and malfunctions onboard before their deaths.

Read more: Simulation shows how passengers in Titan submersible imploded as vessel collapsed

Read more: Titanic sub crew's poignant last moments on land as cafe worker recalls how 'excited' they were for trip

Debris from the Titan submersible, recovered from the ocean floor near the wreck of the Titanic
Debris from the Titan submersible, recovered from the ocean floor near the wreck of the Titanic. Picture: Alamy

But now investigators looking into the demise of the Titan have worked out that it is fake, and the five crew members had no idea of their impending deaths.

Captain Jason D. Neubauer, a retired U.S. Coast Guard officer and chairman of the Marine Board of Investigation, said: "'I'm confident it's a false transcript. It was made up."

Experts said the level of technical language and jargon in the transcript made it seem realistic.

Mr Neubauer added: "Somebody did it well enough to make it look plausible." The transcript made the men look like they were "panicking," he said.

The US Coast Guard searched for the submersible from the Canadian research vessel Polar Prince
The US Coast Guard searched for the submersible from the Canadian research vessel Polar Prince. Picture: Alamy

It's unclear where the transcript came from - and why whoever created it would have wanted to do so.

Dr. Alfred S. McLaren, a retired Navy submariner and submersible pilot, said it could have been fabricated to upset the bereaved families of the crew.

"It may have been done to embarrass OceanGate," he told the New York Times. "It certainly was guaranteed to stir up the relatives."

Wreckage is unloaded from the ship Horizon Arctic at the Canadian Coast Guard pier in St. John's, Newfoundland
Wreckage is unloaded from the ship Horizon Arctic at the Canadian Coast Guard pier in St. John's, Newfoundland. Picture: Alamy

It is thought researchers will likely never determine the exact location or reason that caused the tragic event. 

The doomed group of five were were travelling 12,500 feet below sea level when the deep sea submersible lost communication.

Debris was found on the sea floor days later and rescuers said that the sub had suffered a catastrophic implosion.

Graphic explains how Titan submersible imploded

Following the incident, it emerged that safety concerns were raised multiple times before, with several people including Ross Kemp and YouTuber Mr Beast having dropped out of doing similar trips.

As the Titanic wreckage is in international waters and the OceanGate expeditions were not operating out of a port, the trips were not subject to safety regulations.

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