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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

All 5 on submersible are believed dead after ‘catastrophic implosion’

In a satellite photo form Maxar Technologies, ships taking part in the search and rescue efforts for the missing Titan submersible near the wreck of the Titanic.

By Ben Shpigel and Daniel Victor

All five people aboard the submersible that went missing Sunday were believed to be dead, the U.S. Coast Guard said Thursday, ending a dayslong rescue effort that gripped much of the world.

“On behalf of the United States Coast Guard and the entire unified command, I offer my deepest condolences to the families,” Rear Adm. John Mauger said in a news conference Thursday.

Earlier in the day, a remote-controlled vehicle located debris from the Titan submersible, including its tail cone, on the ocean floor, about 1,600 feet from the bow of the Titanic, he said.

“The debris is consistent with a catastrophic implosion of the vessel,” Mauger said.

Stockton Rush, the CEO of OceanGate, was piloting the submersible. The four passengers were a British businessperson and explorer, Hamish Harding; a British-Pakistani businessperson, Shahzada Dawood, and his teenage son, Suleman; and a French maritime expert, Paul-Henri Nargeolet, who had been on over 35 dives to the Titanic wreck site.

For rescuers, the search for the pilot and four passengers aboard the submersible, the Titan, was always a race against time. When the submersible, a 22-foot-long vessel owned by OceanGate, lost contact with a chartered ship on Sunday morning, it was more than halfway into its dive to the wreck of the Titanic, and it was believed to be equipped with only four days’ worth of oxygen.

Even as the chances of survival seemed to grow slim, rescuers said they were holding out hope that the Titan could still be intact out there somewhere, with five people alive inside — hopes that were dashed Thursday.

Asked what the prospects were of recovering the bodies of the victims, Mauger said he did not have an answer. “This is an incredibly unforgiving environment down there on the sea floor,” he said.

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