The Titan submersible was a state-of-the-art vessel that could dive up to 4,000 meters (13,000 feet) deep and carry five passengers in a pressurized cabin. It was designed by OceanGate, an American company that offered expeditions to explore the underwater world, including the famous wreck of the Titanic.
On June 18, 2023, the Titan embarked on its seventh mission to the Titanic, carrying OceanGate’s CEO Stockton Rush, British billionaire Hamish Harding, French dive expert Paul-Henri Nargeolet, and Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman. The submersible was supposed to descend to the Titanic’s bow section, about 3,800 meters (12,500 feet) below the surface, and spend about three hours surveying the site.
However, something went terribly wrong during the descent. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the Titan suffered a catastrophic loss of pressure that caused it to implode. The implosion was so powerful that it was detected by a U.S. Navy hydrophone, a device that records underwater sounds. The implosion occurred at around 10:15 a.m. ET, shortly after the Titan lost contact with its support ship.
The Coast Guard launched a massive search and rescue operation, involving Canadian and British aircraft, ships, and submarines. After four days of searching, they found debris from the Titan scattered on the ocean floor, near the Titanic’s bow. The debris confirmed that the submersible had imploded and that there was no chance of survival for the five passengers.
The cause of the implosion is still under investigation, but some experts have speculated that it could have been due to a structural failure, a human error, or an external factor such as a collision with an object or a marine animal. The implosion raised questions about the safety and regulation of submersible tourism, as well as the ethical implications of visiting the Titanic site.
The Titan submersible incident was one of the worst maritime disasters in recent history and a tragic end to a daring adventure. It also marked a sad irony: two vessels named after Titans, both doomed by their ambition to explore the depths of the ocean.