Titanic tourist sub investigators 'taking precautions' in case bodies found on sea floor

26 June 2023, 06:01

Investigators are taking precautions in case they come across bodies on the sea floor
Investigators are taking precautions in case they come across bodies on the sea floor. Picture: Alamy/Handout/Social media

By Emma Soteriou

Investigators searching the debris field near the Titanic where a tourist sub went missing have said they are "taking precautions" in case they discover the passenger's bodies.

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Captain Jason Neubauer, who is chairing the US Coast Guard investigation into the "catastrophic implosion" of the vessel, made the comments as the search and rescue aspects of the response came to an end.

The race to find the missing submarine came to a close last Thursday, with investigators later travelling to Newfoundland to gather information and conduct interviews.

British adventurer Hamish Harding and father and son Shahzada and Suleman Dawood were among the five killed on board the submersible, alongside the American chief executive of the company responsible for the vessel, Stockton Rush, and French national Paul-Henri Nargeolet.

Salvage operations are continuing and investigators have mapped the accident site, Cpt Neubauer told a press conference in Boston.

He also said the convening of a Marine Board of Investigation is the highest level of investigation conducted by the US Coast Guard. It is unclear how long it will take.

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

Read more: 'Scary that I could've been on it': YouTuber Mr Beast says he turned down invite onto Titan sub

Former Royal Navy Officer would not have gone into the Titan

Cpt Neubauer said: "I'm not getting into the details of the recovery operations but we are taking all precautions on site if we are to encounter any human remains. \

"At this time a priority of the investigation is to recover items from the sea floor.

"We have already mapped the accident site in the field so the other factors would be part of the investigation."

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

Concerns over the safety of the vessel have emerged since the tragedy while other have called for trips to the Titanic' wreckage to be completely stopped.

Several people have come forward saying they almost took the trip themselves before pulling out, including Ross Kemp and YouTuber Mr Beast.

Last week emails from OceanGate CEO Mr Rush emerged which dismissed safety concerns over the deep-sea vessel.

Cpt Neubauer said the investigation could lead to tougher regulations.

"It's an opportunity to learn from the incident and then work with our international partners worldwide to... improve regulations or international safety standards so that they have improved oversight over these operations and to prevent a similar occurrence," he said.

The explorer who narrowly avoided trip on missing OceanGate sub

On Saturday, Canadian police said they were looking into the circumstances of the implosion.

Superintendent Kent Osmond, of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), said a team of investigators had been established with the "sole purpose" of determining whether a criminal investigation would be warranted.

The officer said interviews took place with people on board Titan's main support ship, the Polar Prince, on Saturday as part of the investigation.

The ship returned to St John's Harbour in Newfoundland on Saturday morning and safety investigators made inquiries on board.