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How Titan sub investigators will find out what actually happened

How Titan sub investigators will find out what actually happened

The Titan sub suffered a 'catastrophic implosion'

An expert has explained how investigators will attempt to establish what happened to the Titan submersible.

The submersible lost contact with its mothership on Sunday (18 June) shortly after it set off to explore the wreck of the Titanic.

Five people were onboard: British billionaire Hamish Harding; French maritime expert Paul-Henri Nargeolet; Shahzada Dawood and his son Sulaiman; and OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush.

Yesterday, the US Coastguard confirmed that five major pieces of the sub had been found on the ocean floor by a remotely-operated vehicle, including a nose cone and its landing tail.

Rear Admiral John Mauger, said what they found was consistent with a ‘catastrophic implosion’.

Speaking at a press conference he explained: “In consultation with experts from within the unified command, the debris is consistent with the catastrophic loss of the pressure chamber.

“Upon this determination, we immediately notified the families.

“On behalf of the United States Coast Guard and the entire unified command, I offer my deepest condolences to the families. I can only imagine what this has been like for them.

Shahzada Dawood and his son Sulaiman Dawood were on the Titan sub.
Family handout

“And I hope that this discovery provides some solace during this difficult time.”

Following the tragic discovery, the focus will now switch to attempting to understand what caused the accident.

Ryan Ramsey, former submarine captain in Britain's Royal Navy, told the BBC that in order to try and gain as much insight as possible, authorities will be collecting as much of the sub’s debris as possible.

He compared such an investigation to those carried out following a plane crash, but noted: “There is no black box, so you are not going to be able to track the last movements of the vessel itself.”

He added: "But as many pieces of the vessel as they can do, to get those back up to the surface, and from them they should be able to analyse the break structure, any fractures that have happened and maybe piece together what actually happened in those last moments.”

Debris from the Titan sub was found yesterday.

Once collected the pieces will be examined under a microscope by experts to try and spot any tears or breaks in the carbon fibre structure, which could help identify the exact spot the rupture took place.

Investigators will be trying to find out if the accident was due to a structural failure - and, if so, was this due to a lack of proper testing of the sub.

Professor Roderick A Smith of Imperial Imperial College London told the BBC that the strength of the implosion means it could be difficult to create a timeline for what happened.

"Hence the need for retrieval and painstaking examination if possible,” he added.

Featured Image Credit: Oceangate

Topics: Titanic, US News, UK News