Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) criticized the U.S. government Thursday over an “epic failure in leadership” regarding the search and rescue operation of OceanGate’s Titan submarine.
The U.S. Coastguard and OceanGate announced that all five passengers on the Titan submarine were presumed dead Thursday after debris from the submarine were located near the Titanic.
Crenshaw, who is a former Navy SEAL, told reporters Thursday that leadership needed to act faster to deploy assets, such as a 6K ROV and a Magellan submarine, for the search and rescue mission.
“I have been hearing a lot of concerning things from people, the civilian side who are involved in this,” Crenshaw said. “You know, we’ve got to look into it, see what’s true and what isn’t…What appears to be the case is epic failure in leadership. Where exactly that leadership failure is, I don’t know. Is it the White House, Coast Guard, Navy? I’m not sure.”
Crenshaw suggested that if the government had immediately deployed the 6K ROV and the Magellan submarine, both assets would have arrived at the location of the submarine’s disappearance “by Wednesday morning at the latest.”
Crenshaw explained that the 6K ROV, which he claimed was the “only thing capable” of reaching the depth of the wreckage and “seeing what’s down there,” was not deployed until Thursday morning, which was at least a full day later than it could have been deployed if leadership had responded quickly.
“It deploys down there and the wreckage was exactly where they thought it would be,” he said. “So where’s the failure here? The failure here is to not put all your options on the table.”
The U.S. Navy has reported that it “detected an anomaly consistent with an implosion or explosion” hours after the Titan departed for its exploration of the Titanic wreckage. Although the Navy acknowledged that the detected sound was not “definitive,” it explained that the information was “immediately” provided to the incident commander.
Nevertheless, according to Crenshaw, experts informed him that the noise the Navy believed was the implosion of the submarine could have “easily been the sub just hitting the floor.”
Combined with the information Canadian authorities provided about “banging sounds” that were heard Tuesday and Wednesday, which Crenshaw described as “standard procedure SOS every half hour,” Crenshaw argued that the situation could possibly have been “resolved differently” if leadership had “just acted sooner and actually put options on the table” instead of believing the passengers were already dead.