‘Presumed human remains’ were discovered in wreckage of Titan sub, officials say 


‘Presumed human remains’ have been found in the wreckage of the Titan submersible on Wednesday, the US Coast Guard announced.

Several identifiable parts of the ship were lifted ashore on Wednesday afternoon, including the sub’s nose and a large panel which appears to be from its tail end.

Amid those recovered pieces, Coast Guard officials said they discovered human remains, which will now be transported aboard a ship to a port in the United States where they will undergo testing and analysis.

The discoveries surprised experts who suspected Titan was destroyed when it suffered a ‘catastrophic implosion‘ with five people on board during a journey to the wreckage of the Titanic.

In fact, earlier on Wednesday a coroner told DailyMail.com she believed the remains of those onboard — including British billionaire Hamish Harding, French explorer Paul-Henri Nargeolet, OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush and father and son Shahzada and Suleman Dawood — would likely never be recovered.

Human remains have reportedly been found in the wreckage of the Titan submersible

Human remains have reportedly been found in the wreckage of the Titan submersible

Stockton Rush perished on board the Titan along with his four passengers when the vessel imploded while en route to the Atlantic seabed

Commander Paul-Henry Nargeolet, an expert on the Titanic, lost his life in the Titan tragedy

Stockton Rush, the CEO of OceanGate, which launched, Titan, perished on board the submersible last Sunday along with his four passengers, including PH Nargeolet (right)

Shahzada Dawood, 48, (right) one of Pakistan's richest men, who along with his teenage son Suleman Dawood, 19, (left) died on the Titan

Hamish Harding

Shahzada Dawood, 48, one of Pakistan’s richest men, who along with his teenage son Suleman Dawood, 19, (together, left) died on the Titan along with British explorer Hamish Harding (right)

Officials said Wednesday the remains were ‘carefully removed within the wreckage’ that was recovered earlier in the day.

‘I am grateful for the coordinated international and interagency support to recover and preserve this vital evidence at extreme offshore distances and depths,’ Marine Board of Investigation Capt. Jason Neubauer said in a statement.

‘The evidence will provide investigators from several international jurisdictions with critical insights into the cause of this tragedy,’ he added.

But, Neubauer noted there is a ‘substantial amount of work’ still to be done to understand what happened to the Titan sub and to ‘help ensure a similar tragedy does not occur again.’

The MBI will continue its evidence collection and witness interviews to inform a public hearing about the incident, and Pelagic Research Services — whose remote operating vehicle discovered the debris fields — said its team is ‘still on mission’.

‘They have been working around the clock now for 10 days, through the physical and mental challenges of this operation, and are anxious to finish the mission and return to their loved ones,’ the company said in a statement. 

A large section of the Titan submersible that was recovered Wednesday appeared to be a panel from its tail.  Some experts expected that salvaged pieces would be far smaller

A large section of the Titan submersible that was recovered Wednesday appeared to be a panel from its tail.  Some experts expected that salvaged pieces would be far smaller

The titanium front-end of Titan, where its viewing port was located, was clearly identifiable among the sections which were recovered. It's thought that the titanium parts are likely to have suffered less damage in the implosion, compared with the weaker carbon fiber elements

The titanium front-end of Titan, where its viewing port was located, was clearly identifiable among the sections which were recovered. It’s thought that the titanium parts are likely to have suffered less damage in the implosion, compared with the weaker carbon fiber elements

On Wednesday, a debris field was found on the seafloor, 1,600 feet (500 meters) from the bow of the Titanic, which sits more than two miles (nearly four kilometers) below the ocean’s surface and 400 miles off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada.

The Canadian-flagged Polar Prince cargo vessel towed the Titan out to sea last weekend but lost contact with it about an hour and 45 minutes after the submersible launched into the ocean depths.

News of the missing ship spurred a multinational search-and-rescue operation, which ended when officials announced the sub likely imploded, killing all those onboard instantly.

As a result, Richland County Coroner Naida Rutherford told DailyMail.com it was unlikely human remains would ever be recovered in the search.

She said: ‘When you have any sort of explosion or implosion, there are remains or traces of remains.

‘There is a possibility but given the environment that this happened in it is highly unlikely that they will find remains.

‘Even on land you have animal activity, and in an expansive ocean, so many animals and creatures, and the pressure down there.

‘I think it is unlikely to find remains, certainly in whole parts. It would be very difficult to ID the remains given the conditions in which the implosion happened – and it will be difficult to ascertain who they belonged to.

‘Their bodies would have sustained extensive thermal damage and blunt force trauma from the implosion. Those are things we know as fact.’

A large circular piece of the Titan, which is similar to the sections at each end of the hull, was also retrieved

A large circular piece of the Titan, which is similar to the sections at each end of the hull, was also retrieved

The salvaged remains of Titan were lifted to shore by a huge crane on Wednesday morning

The salvaged remains of Titan were lifted to shore by a huge crane on Wednesday morning

For years prior to the implosion, experts had warned that Stockton Rush’s self-designed submersible was not capable of safely reaching the Titanic wreckage on the ocean floor.  

They said its carbon fiber hull, which housed the five crew, was its ‘Achilles heel’ because the material is not considered suitable for dives at the depths reached by the vessel. 

Titanic director James Cameron, a renowned deep sea explorer and submersibles expert, said previously that the hull was likely broken into ‘very small pieces’ in the incident.

‘If I had to put money down on what the finding [of the investigation] will be, the Achilles heel of the sub was the composite cylinder that was the main hull that the people were inside,’ he said.

‘There were two titanium end caps on each end. They are relatively intact on the sea floor. But that carbon fiber composite cylinder is now just in very small pieces. It’s all rammed into one of the hemispheres. It’s pretty clear that’s what failed.’

Carbon fiber is prone to delamination, the process whereby a material fractures into layers while put under pressure.

It is thought the craft’s titanium components better withstood the disaster, while the weaker carbon fiber parts – including the hull – are more likely to have been crushed into tiny pieces.

The parts lifted from the ocean appear to align with Cameron’s observations, including that the larger piece was the vessel’s titanium shell. Investigators will now work to confirm what each piece is.

Titan's remains were found near the Titanic shipwreck, 12,500ft below the Atlantic Ocean

Titan’s remains were found near the Titanic shipwreck, 12,500ft below the Atlantic Ocean

Titan's carbon fiber hull and its acrylic viewport were subject to several warnings and James Cameron singled them out as 'potential failure points' on the vessel

Titan’s carbon fiber hull and its acrylic viewport were subject to several warnings and James Cameron singled them out as ‘potential failure points’ on the vessel

But, despite these incessant warnings from naval experts, OceanGate had assured the public for year that its Titan submersible was safe. 

The company had boasted in promotional material about Titan’s ‘Real Time Hull Health Monitoring’, which constantly checked the integrity of the vessel throughout the dive.

The system used acoustic sensors and strain gauges to ‘analyze the effects of changing pressure on the vessel as the submersible dives deeper, and accurately assess the integrity of the structure’.

But legal filings reveal a former director of marine operations ‘expressed concern that this was problematic because this type of acoustic analysis would only show when a component is about to fail—often milliseconds before an implosion—and would not detect any existing flaws prior to putting pressure onto the hull.’



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