One Year After Titan Sub Disaster, Investigation into Implosion That Killed 5 Continues

The Titan submersible embarked on its journey to reach the Titanic wreckage on June 18, 2023

<p>Xinhua/Shutterstock</p> The Titan Submersible


The Titan Submersible

As families and friends continue to mourn their loved ones one year after the Titan sub implosion, the investigation into the tragedy remains ongoing.

On the morning of Sunday, June 18, 2023, the 22-foot long submersible descended the depths of the North Atlantic Ocean.

British businessman Hamish Harding, Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood, his son Suleman Dawood, French diver and Titanic expert Paul-Henry Nargeolet and OceanGate CEO and co-founder Richard Stockton Rush were on board and lost their lives.

For a reported $250,000 per ticket, the goal of their cramped journey was to visit the site of the RMS Titanic wreck, which sunk in 1912 after hitting an iceberg. The submersible had only completed two prior expeditions.

Later that evening, the submersible was reported missing by the support ship Polar Prince, kicking off a search and rescue mission. The vehicle, which disappeared roughly 900 miles east of Cape Cod, was estimated to hold 96 hours of oxygen. However, while people on land counted down the hours, keeping their fingers crossed for a happy ending, disaster had already struck.

<p>EyePress News/Shutterstock</p> The Titan submersible

EyePress News/Shutterstock

The Titan submersible

Days later, debris was found 1,600 feet from the Titanic. Parts of the missing sub that were “consistent with a catastrophic implosion” were found on June 22, four days after the initial descent. The U.S. Coast Guard said that the passengers aboard the vessel had no possible chance of surviving the implosion.

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"We now believe that our CEO Stockton Rush, Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman Dawood, Hamish Harding, and Paul-Henri Nargeolet, have sadly been lost," OceanGate said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE at the time.

"These men were true explorers who shared a distinct spirit of adventure, and a deep passion for exploring and protecting the world’s oceans. Our hearts are with these five souls and every member of their families during this tragic time. We grieve the loss of life and joy they brought to everyone they knew," the statement continued.

Related: Get an Inside Look at OceanGate's 'Titan' Submersible: Photos and Details

One year after, there are questions left unanswered. What is the future of OceanGate? Will others really test fate by building a new sub? And when will the investigation into what happened finally end?

<p>EyePress News/Shutterstock</p> Titan submersible

EyePress News/Shutterstock

Titan submersible

OceanGate Is Still Closed

OceanGate suspended operations shortly after the tragedy in July 2023.

As of June 18, 2024, OceanGate has "suspended all exploration and commercial operations," according to its website. Business Insider previously reported that the company shut down its social media pages as well.

Related: New 'Titan' Sub Documentary Highlights Audio of Rhythmic Knocking Heard During Search

An Investigation Is Still Ongoing

In an update on Friday, June 14, the Coast Guard shared that it is still actively investigating "the factors that led to the tragic loss of the Titan submersible on June 18, 2023."

The Coast Guard announced that the investigation will take longer than the initial 12-month timeline it anticipated. Two reasons for the delays include needing to oversee two different salvage missions as well as "extensive forensic testing."

A public hearing to discuss the findings will not happen for at least another two months, the Associated Press reported.

“The investigation into the implosion of the Titan submersible is a complex and ongoing effort,” said MBI Chair Jason Neubauer. “We are working closely with our domestic and international partners to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the incident.”

“We’re grateful for the international and interagency cooperation which has been vital in recovering, preserving and forensically testing evidence from a remote offshore region and extreme depth,” Neubauer added. “The MBI is committed to ensuring that we fully understand the factors that led to this tragedy in order to prevent similar occurrences in the future.”

The U.S. Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation went on to extend its "deepest condolences to the families and friends of the five individuals who lost their lives during the incident."

<p>EyePress News/Shutterstock</p> Titan submersible

EyePress News/Shutterstock

Titan submersible

Logs Of Passengers’ Final Words Recently Found to Be False

What was thought to be the final words of the passengers on board the Titan were fake, the results of a federal investigation showed, according to The New York Times.

There was no evidence that the five passengers knew that the vehicle would implode. The transcript that had gone viral claimed to contain a detailed timeline of what happened and what was said. However, investigators were able to determine the truth after obtaining records of the real communications between the submersible and the Polar Prince.

“Somebody did it well enough to make it look plausible,” Neubauer told the newspaper.

Related: Will OceanGate Face Criminal Charges After 'Titan' Sub's 'Catastrophic' Implosion? Legal Expert Weighs In

There's Still Interest in Exploring the Titanic

Even after what happened onboard the Titan, some people are still fascinated enough to want to take the dive themselves.

Patrick Lahey, the co-founder and CEO of Titan Submarines, revealed in May that one of his clients asked him to create a submersible that could reach the Titanic wreckage.

“He called me up and said, ‘You know, what we need to do is build a sub that can dive to [Titanic-level depths] repeatedly and safely and demonstrate to the world that you guys can do that, and that Titan was a contraption,’ ” Lahey said of Ohio real-estate investor Larry Connor, according to The Wall Street Journal.

<p>Xinhua/Shutterstock</p> Titan submersible


Titan submersible

What Will Happen to the Wreck?

The Titanic’s wreckage was discovered in 1985, over 70 years after the massive ship sank.

What’s left of the ship, which lies two miles beneath the ocean, will disintegrate within the next 30 years, per Business Insider. Bacteria is slowly destroying the ship, along with the deep sea currents and salt corrosion.

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