A top-secret team with the US Navy detected the implosion of the Titan submersible on Sunday, meaning the international rescue effort and apparent race-against-time before air in the vessel ran out was futile from the very beginning.
The Navy’s acoustic system detected “an anomaly” that could have been an explosion or implosion in the area where the sub dived shortly after the vessel lost contact with its mothership on Sunday, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
A US Navy official said the intel was immediately shared with the command post. However, the information was “not definitive,” so a decision was made to “make every effort to save the lives on board” and move forward with a search and rescue mission.
The world was transfixed as details emerged Tuesday from internal emails which claimed Canadian maritime and surveillance and a patrol aircraft picked up a “banging” noise every 30 minutes, giving hope the five men on board could still be alive.
Three ships— the John Cabot, Skandi Vinland and Atlantic Merlin— joined the search on Wednesday, as well as a French ship with remotely operated vehicle capability.
US Coast Guard Rear Adm. John Mauger told the Today Show earlier Thursday that “people’s will to live” should be considered during complex search and rescue missions.
The entire world kept watch over the frantic rescue efforts as officials projected the crew’s air supply would run out at 7:08 a.m. ET Thursday.
However, debris from the vessel found at the bottom of the ocean confirmed Titan and its passengers were killed in a “catastrophic implosion,” most likely as the craft plummeted into the black depths of the ocean on Sunday.
Debris from the submersible were found just 1,600 feet from the resting place of the RMS Titanic, which sank in 1912.
Passengers aboard the sub, were British billionaire explorer Hamish Harding, French Titanic expert Paul-Henri Nargeolet, OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his 19-year-old son Sulaiman.
The five were bound for the Atlantic seabed 12,500 feet below the surface of the ocean to view the remnants of the Titanic.
“Titanic” director James Cameron, who also has traveled the deep sea 33 times via specialized submersible, told the BBC he and others in the deep-sea exploration community felt that when the Titan had lost communication and tracking simultaneously all the passengers would not have survived.
The 68-year old filmmaker and deep-sea explorer went on to slam the futile rescue effort and called it a “nightmarish charade.”
“That was just a cruel, slow turn of the screw for four days as far as I’m concerned, because I knew the truth on Monday” Cameron told the BBC.
“I felt it in my bones what had happened. For the sub’s electronics to fail and its communication system to fail, and its tracking transponder to fail simultaneously— sub’s gone.”
Cost of the rescue mission, which involved the US, France and Canada, will be in the “millions,” Chris Boyer, executive director of the National Association for Search and Rescue, told the New York Times.
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