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Fatal Titan Submersible Incident Sparks Inquiry by Canadian Safety Regulators

The investigation comes after a five-day international rescue attempt ended

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CANADA: Canadian safety regulators are investigating the undersea implosion of a tourist submersible that claimed the lives of all five aboard the Titanic wreck. The investigation comes after a five-day international rescue attempt ended with a robotic diving vehicle locating a Titan debris field at the North Atlantic bottom.

U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral John Mauger reports that Titan pieces were scattered across the seabed about 1,600 feet from the wreck’s bow. The wreckage was linked to a catastrophic implosion, causing the 22-foot-long vessel to fall and be crushed by hydrostatic pressure.

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Stockton Rush, the founder and CEO of OceanGate Expeditions, was among the five fatalities. The Titanic disaster involved British adventurers Hamish Harding, Shahzada Dawood, and Suleman, as well as French oceanographers Paul-Henri Nargeolet. Paul was a key figure on the Titanic.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) is opening a safety investigation on the Polar Prince, a Canadian-flagged ship, to gather data and conduct interviews.

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OceanGate was founded by Rush and Guillermo Söhnlein in 2009, with Söhnlein adding Rush as a “keenly aware” risk manager. However, some submersible operators and specialists questioned the company’s decision to avoid third-party certification for Titan’s innovative design and construct its pressure hull out of carbon fibre.

OceanGate created an experimental vehicle with materials avoided by others, evading safety certification and ignoring warnings from experts in the submersible community, said co-founder of OceanX Ray Dalio.

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Dik Barton, a British Titanic investigator, cited concerns about Titan’s construction and upkeep. Las Vegas-based investor Jay Bloom told the media that he turned down a last-minute Titan adventure with his son out of fear for their safety.

Certified helicopter pilot Bloom expressed concerns about Titan’s use of consumer-grade components, such as a video game joystick, and the submersible’s bolted-shut design. 

Concerns about Titan’s safety surfaced during an industry symposium and a lawsuit filed by OceanGate’s former head of marine operations, as per reports. First known fatalities in more than 60 years of civillian deep-sea exploration are associated with the accident. However, because foreign waters are not subject to government regulation, OceanGate was free to act however it pleased, as per experts.

According to Mauger of the United States Coast Guard, it is too early to speculate on when the Titan met its end. However, the placement of the debris relatively close to the wreck and the amount of time that passed before Titan’s contact was lost indicate that the catastrophe probably happened near the end of Sunday’s fall.

Acoustic data from the U.S. Navy revealed an anomaly indicating an implosion or explosion near the submersible’s location. The Coast Guard continued the search and rescue effort despite the lack of conclusive evidence.

James Cameron, the director of the 1997 Acadmey award-winning movie “Titanic,” claimed to have learned of the acoustic data the day after the submersible vanished.

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