The U.S. Coast Guard has recovered debris and evidence from the Titan submersible that went missing and apparently imploded last week, according to a recent statement.
The evidence will be transported to the Marine Board of Investigation (MBI), where it will undergo formal analysis and testing by medical professionals, the U.S. Coast Guard said.
“I am grateful for the coordinated international and interagency support to recover and preserve this vital evidence at extreme offshore distances and depths,” MBI Chair Captain Jason Neubauer said in the statement.
Neubauer continued: “The evidence will provide investigators from several international jurisdictions with critical insights into the cause of this tragedy. There is still a substantial amount of work to be done to understand the factors that led to the catastrophic loss of the TITAN and help ensure a similar tragedy does not occur again.”
The collected evidence is presumed to be the human remains of the five people aboard the Titan when it imploded.
The submersible went missing on June 18, about 300 miles off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, while en route to view the wreckage of the Titanic. The four passengers paid $250,000 to venture on the deep-sea tourist expedition led by the private company OceanGate. The submersible was being piloted by Stockton Rush, the CEO of OceanGate.
The 21-foot vessel’s disappearance prompted the U.S. Coast Guard to launch a days-long hunt for the missing craft with the help of other groups and international teams using planes, ships and remotely operated vehicles (ROVs).
Searchers scoured the ocean floor, covering an area roughly double the size of Connecticut. Experts predicted that the vessel would run out of oxygen by Thursday morning.
The U.S. Coast Guard announced that the search had ended on Thursday after a debris field was found by an ROV in the search area. Five pieces that appeared to be from the submersible were found “approximately 1,600 feet from the bow of the Titanic on the sea floor,” Rear Adm. John Mauger said in a news conference.
The pilot and passengers were believed to have died when the submersible imploded hours after its June 18 launch, according to the Coast Guard and OceanGate. The Coast Guard and the MBI began an investigation on Sunday to determine the passengers’ cause of death and “possible negligence” that contributed to the deaths.
The four passengers aboard British businessman and adventurer Hamish Harding, French explorer Paul-Henri Nargeolet, and Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son, Suleman.
The MBI said in the statement Wednesday that it will continue to collect evidence and witness interviews to “inform a public hearing regarding this tragedy.”