The US Coast Guard has announced that “presumed human remains” were among the debris and evidence recovered from the seafloor where the wreckage of the doomed Titan submersible was found following the vessel’s “catastrophic implosion”.
In an official statement on Wednesday, the Coast Guard said that it “received debris and evidence recovered from the seafloor at the site of the Titan submersible when the M/V Horizon Arctic (an anchor handling vessel) arrived in St. John’s, Newfoundland” earlier in the day.
“After consultation with international partner investigative agencies, the Marine Board of Investigation (MBI) intends to transport the evidence aboard a Coast Guard cutter to a port in the US where the MBI will be able to facilitate further analysis and testing,” the statement said.
The Coast Guard went on to say that American medical professionals will conduct “a formal analysis of the presumed human remains that have been carefully recovered within the wreckage at the site of the incident”.
“I am grateful for the coordinated international and interagency support to recover and preserve this vital evidence at extreme offshore distances and depths,” MBI Chair Captain Jason Neubauer was quoted as saying in the statement.
“The evidence will provide investigators from several international jurisdictions with critical insights into the cause of this tragedy. There is still a substantial amount of work to be done to understand the factors that led to the catastrophic loss of the Titan and help ensure a similar tragedy does not occur again.”
Meanwhile, Pelagic Research Service — the company that owns the remotely operated vehicles that brought Titan’s wreckage to the surface — told CNN on Wednesday that it has “successfully completed” the offshore work for now.
A white panel-like piece and another similarly sized part with cords and wires draped with white tarp were among the debris taken off by the Horizon Arctic at the Canadian Coast Guard pier in St. John’s.
But it was not immediately clear what those pieces were.
The Titan submersible, operated by OceanGate Expeditions, and its five passengers began their descent to the 111-year-old wreckage of the Titanic on the morning of June 18, CNN reported.
But about an hour and 45 minutes into its dive, the cramped vessel lost contact with its mother ship and did not surface as expected, kicking off a massive, days-long multinational search and rescue operation.
On June 22, the US Coast Guard announced the vessel had suffered a “catatrophic implosion” that presumably killed all those aboard.
The tail cone and other debris from the submersible were found by a remotely operated vehicle about 1,600 feet from the bow of the Titanic.