An amount of debris from the wrecked OceanGate Titan submersible has been discovered, along with ‘presumed human remains’ at the bottom of the ocean, the US Coast Guard has said.
After the sub lost contact with its mothership during a voyage to the famous shipwreck, a days-long rescue mission turned into tragedy after debris was found to suggest that the submersible had failed at depth and caused the almost instant death of everyone inside.
An investigation was launched into the circumstances surrounding the accident, and now marine safety engineers say that they have recovered fresh evidence from the sea floor of the North Atlantic Ocean some four months after the incident took place.
It is being analysed by US-based medical professionals, but the US Coast Guard has said that it believes there to be human remains among the debris recovered.
A public hearing is set to be held after the investigating experts have determined the cause of the catastrophic malfunction of the craft, which was aiming to descend - as it had done several times before - to depths of 3,800 or 12,500 feet below the surface of the ocean to the Titanic wreck site.
The Marine Board of Investigation has previously said that it hopes that the inquiry will ‘help ensure that a similar tragedy does not occur again’.
All of the evidence suggests that the hull of the carbon-fibre craft collapsed, which would have killed all on board instantly due to the pressure of the surrounding ocean.
Rescue expert Daniel Mearns, who knew two of the people aboard the Titan at the time of the tragedy, said: "The only saving grace is that it would have been immediate - literally in milliseconds.
"The men wouldn't have known what was happening."
The rescue mission soon turned to a salvage operation after debris consistent with a ‘catastrophic implosion’ was found on the sea bed some 500m from the wreck of the Titanic.
At the time, deep sea diving expert Jesse Doren, who had been assisting with the rescue operation, said: "We'd spent four or five days... expecting to go down there and perform a miracle.
"Obviously, our sense of disappointment is minuscule compared to the people who are close to the families of those who were lost."
The full statement from the US Coast Guard reads: "Marine safety engineers with the Coast Guard’s Marine Board of Investigation (MBI) recovered and transferred remaining Titan submersible debris and evidence from the North Atlantic Ocean seafloor, Oct. 4.
"The salvage mission, which was conducted under an existing agreement with U.S. Navy Supervisor of Salvage & Diving, was a follow-up to initial recovery operations following the loss of the Titan submersible. Investigators from the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Transportation Safety Board of Canada joined the salvage expedition as part of their respective safety investigations.
"The recovered evidence was successfully transferred to a U.S. port for cataloging and analysis. Additional presumed human remains were carefully recovered from within Titan’s debris and transported for analysis by U.S. medical professionals.
"The MBI is coordinating with NTSB and other international investigative agencies to schedule a joint evidence review of recovered Titan debris.
"This review session will help determine the next steps for necessary forensic testing.
"The MBI will continue evidence analysis and witness interviews ahead of a public hearing regarding this tragedy."Featured Image Credit: Becky Kagan Schott/OceanGate/US National Transportation Safety Board