Bodies of missing Titanic sub passengers may never be recovered, Coast Guard says

The bodies of the five passengers aboard the Titanic sub that was lost in a “catastrophic implosion” near the wreck may never be recovered from the Atlantic, says the US Coast Guard.

The pressure chamber of the OceanGate Titan was found among other debris, approximately 1,600ft from the bow of the Titanic on the sea floor by a remote operated vehicle (ROV) on Thursday.

“This is an incredibly unforgiving environment out there on the sea floor. The debris is consistent with the catastrophic implosion of the vessel. We will continue to work and search the area down there but I don’t have an answer on prospects at this time,” said Rear Admiral John Mauger of the US Coast Guard.

The submersible vessel named Titan (OceanGate Expeditions) (PA Media)
The submersible vessel named Titan (OceanGate Expeditions) (PA Media)

And he added: “This is an incredibly complex operating environment on the sea floor over two miles beneath the surface.”

The Coast Guard says that ROVs will remain in place but that it will begin to pull back equipment over the next 48 hours.

The Rear Admiral said that sonar buoys had been in the water for the past 72 hours and that they had not picked up any evidence of an implosion, suggesting that it had happened early on in the dive.

Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his 19-year-old son Suleman Dawood were lost along with CEO and founder of OceanGate Expeditions Stockton Rush, British billionaire explorer Hamish Harding and renowned French diver Paul-Henri Nargeolet.

Titan began its journey to the wreck site, which sits at a depth of 12,500ft in the Atlantic Ocean, on Sunday morning.

About an hour and 45 minutes later, the Titan lost contact with its surface ship, the Polar Prince. The Titan was equipped with a four-day emergency oxygen supply.

Officials say that a Canadian aircraft involved in the search detected intermittent “banging” noises from the vicinity of its last known location.

Mr Dawood and his son, who are both British citizens, are part of a prominent Pakistani family, with investments in the country’s agriculture and industry sectors.