“We grieve the loss of life and joy they brought to everyone they knew.”
The five people on board the missing submersible Titan have died in what’s been described as a “catastrophic implosion” by the US Coast Guard.
A remotely operated vehicle located pieces of debris from the Titan on the seabed this morning, about 500m from the Titanic wreck, according to Rear Admiral John Mauger, the First Coast Guard District commander.
In a statement, OceanGate Inc have said: “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.
”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 OceanGate-owned vessel, with five people on board, lost communication with tour operators less than two hours into its dive on Sunday while about 435 miles south of St John’s, Newfoundland during a voyage to the Titanic shipwreck off the coast of Canada.
British billionaire Hamish Harding – who has previously travelled on the Challenger Deep to the bottom of the ocean and on Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin into space – was on the submarine, as was French diver Paul-Henri Nargeolet, OceanGate founder Stockton Rush, along with Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman.
OceanGate had said the submersible had a 96-hour oxygen supply in case of emergencies.
Using this figure, it was estimated that the submersible would run out of oxygen at 12:08pm UK time today.
Search and rescue teams scoured the area where noises were detected for the missing sub. Navy experts said underwater “banging” sounds, detected on Wednesday were not confirmed as coming from the stranded vessel.
The trip, which is thought to cost £195,000 per head, launched at 4am Sunday. Communications disappeared one hour and 45 minutes into the descent to the wreck site – which sits about 3,800m (12,500ft) below sea level at the bottom of the ocean around 370 miles off the coast of Newfoundland but in US waters.
The submersible was just 6.7m (22ft) long and had dimensions of 263 inches x 110 inches x 98 inches, around the same as a minivan. It was impossible for passengers to escape from, as 17 bolts were applied from the outside that would need to be removed by external crew.
The expedition was OceanGate’s third annual voyage to chronicle the deterioration of the iconic ocean liner that struck an iceberg and sank in 1912.