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Missing sub passengers presumed dead, couldn’t have escaped vessel if they wanted to

Below the ocean's surface. (Unsplash)
June 22, 2023

The U.S. Coastguard provided an update on Thursday revealing all five of the passengers on the missing Titan submersible are presumed dead in a “catastrophic implosion.”

According to NBC News, debris from the wreckage of the Titan was found off the bow of the Titanic on Thursday.

“We now believe that our CEO Stockton Rush, Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman Dawood, Hamish Harding, and Paul-Henri Nargeolet, have sadly been lost,” OceanGate announced in a statement following the Coast Guard’s update.

“These men were true explorers who shared a distinct spirit of adventure, and a deep passion for exploring and protecting the world’s oceans,” the statement added. “Our hearts are with these five souls and every member of their families during this tragic time. We grieve the loss of life and joy they brought to everyone they knew.”

Reports of the Titan’s design also revealed the passengers of the missing Titanic exploration submarine could not have escaped from the vessel even if they wanted to.

During his underwater voyage to the Titanic on the Titan last summer, David Pogue, a CBS News correspondent, learned how the submarine vessel operated, with a tour provided by Rush, who sadly died in the implosion.

“The crew closes the hatch, from the outside, with 17 bolts,” Pogue said. “There’s no other way out.”

According to the National Post, while some argued securing the Titan with 17 bolts from the outside was dangerous since it makes it “impossible” for passengers to exit the submarine without external help, the water pressure of the ocean would also make it impossible for any hatch to be opened from inside the submarine.

In either case, the submarine would be required to return to the surface for it to be opened. Due to the particular design of the Titan, not only would it be forced to return to the surface for passengers to exit the vessel, but an external crew would need to remove the 17 bolts that secure the submarine.

READ MORE: Missing Titanic sub likely out of oxygen as search continues, officials say

A quick look at the design of the Titan brings up multiple red flags, especially considering the submersible vessel was not properly certified by an outside organization.

Pogue shared last year that before he embarked on the exploration to the Titanic, he was forced to sign a waiver that explained, “This experimental vessel has not been approved or certified by any regulatory body, and could result in physical injury, emotional trauma, or death.”

Additionally, Mike Reis, a television producer who traveled on the Titan for a trip to the wreckage of the Titanic last summer, said, “Before you even get on the boat, there’s a long, long waiver that mentions death three times on page one.”