Titan sub ship returns to harbour ahead of implosion tragedy probe

24 June 2023, 17:49

The support vessel will now be searched by Canadian investigators
The support vessel will now be searched by Canadian investigators. Picture: Alamy

By Adam Solomons

The Titan submersible's support vessel returned to harbour as Canadian investigators prepared a probe into the catastrophic implosion which killed five Titanic adventurers.

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Flags on Polar Prince were at half mast as the ship arrived back at St John's, Newfoundland on Saturday.

Officials from the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) boarded the ship as they began an investigation into the support vessel's role in the tragedy.

Investigators have found parts of the wrecked submersible, which lost contact with company OceanGate, less than 500m from the bow of the Titanic.

It's thought the bodies of victims Stockton Rush, Hamish Harding, Shahzada Dawood, Suleman Dawood and Paul-Henry Nargeolet may never be found.

Read more: Ross Kemp was set to dive to the Titanic on doomed submersible but production company ruled it was too dangerous

Read more: OceanGate boss 'was warned about creaking noise that indicated danger' to hull of Titan sub years before implosion

Staff are pictured leaving Polar Prince after its return to harbour in Canada earlier today
Staff are pictured leaving Polar Prince after its return to harbour in Canada earlier today. Picture: Alamy

The TSB said earlier today: "In accordance with the Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board Act and international agreements, the TSB, as the investigation authority of the flag state of the support vessel involved in the occurrence, will conduct a safety investigation regarding the circumstances of this operation conducted by the Canadian-flagged vessel Polar Prince.

"A team of TSB investigators is travelling to St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, to gather information, conduct interviews, and assess the occurrence.

"In the coming days, we will coordinate our activities with other agencies involved."

Investigators are pictured boarding the support vessel after it arrived at harbour in Newfoundland on Saturday
Investigators are pictured boarding the support vessel after it arrived at harbour in Newfoundland on Saturday. Picture: Alamy

It came after a submersibles expert who went aboard the Titan sub heard cracking sounds and reported his concerns to the company's boss.

Karl Stanley told OceanGate founder and CEO Stockton Rush about the issues in April 2019.

He sent an email to Rush, setting out his belief that it "sounded like a flaw/defect in one area being acted on by the tremendous pressures and being crushed/damaged".

Vanessa O'Brien on the Titan submersible

Emails obtained by the New York Times show he worried part of the hull "is breaking down" and he said Rush should go slower with making the sub.

He told Rush: "A useful thought exercise here would be to imagine the removal of the variables of the investors, the eager mission scientists, your team hungry for success, the press releases already announcing this summer's dive schedule.

"Imagine this project was self funded and on your own schedule. Would you consider taking dozens of other people to the Titanic before you truly knew the source of those sounds??"

He received no reply from the CEO.

Rush, 61, died on the submarine when it likely imploded after setting off the the Titanic on Sunday.

The explorer who narrowly avoided trip on missing OceanGate sub

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