Tragic end for the five passengers of the submarine Titan. The machine, which had been the subject of a desperate search since Sunday, has officially been “lost”, confirmed the operating company. The submersible probably imploded, suggesting that the death of the crew was very fast.
” We believe that [les cinq membres de l’équipage] have been sadly lost,” OceanGate said in a statement released at 3 p.m. Thursday. “This is an extremely sad time for our employees who are exhausted and deeply saddened by this loss. »
The small submersible probably imploded, the US Coast Guard said at a press briefing a few minutes later.
A “debris field” had been discovered by search teams on Thursday morning, some 500 meters from the wreckage of the titanicthe object of the shipment of the Titan. Analysis of this debris led to the conclusion that the submarine suffered a “catastrophic destruction of the pressure chamber”.
Pieces of the “back” and the “bell” of this pressure chamber were recovered, said Jamie Frederick, the first coordinator of the intervention, allowing to conclude beyond any doubt that this risky sea trip was culminated in a “catastrophic event”.
The boss of OceanGate, the American Stockton Rush, was on board, alongside a wealthy British businessman Hamish Harding (58), former French diver and navy soldier Paul-Henri Nargeolet ( 77) – nicknamed “Mr. Titanic” -, and Pakistani tycoon Shahzada Dawood (48) and his son Suleman (19) – both also having British nationality.
A whole commotion had started at the beginning of the week to find this 6.5 meter long submarine.
THE Titan had dived on Sunday and was expected to resurface seven hours later, but contact was lost less than two hours after leaving. Tuesday noon, the US Coast Guard had warned that there were “about 40 hours of breathable air” on board.
The rescue mission was “extremely complex,” the coast guard said. The surface search area was 20,000 km2.
According to Captain Jamie Frederick of the United States Coast Guard, “the location of the search, 1450 km east of Cape Cod and 640 km southeast of Saint John of Newfoundland, made it exceptionally difficult to mobilize quickly large amounts of equipment”.
Since the beginning of the research, information implicating OceanGate has been revealed concerning possible technical negligence of the underwater tourism device.
A 2018 complaint seen by AFP says a former company executive, David Lochridge, was fired after raising serious doubts about the safety of the submersible.
According to this former director of marine operations, a porthole at the front of the device was designed to withstand the pressure experienced at 1300 m depth and not at 4000 m.
For US$250,000 instead, they embarked on an exploration of the remains of what was one of the greatest maritime disasters of the 20th century.e century.
THE titanic wrecked on her maiden voyage in April 1912, after colliding with an iceberg, killing nearly 1,500 passengers and crew.
Since the discovery of the wreck in 1985, scientists, treasure seekers and wealthy tourists have visited it, thus maintaining the myth.
More details will follow.
With Agence France-Presse