The United States Coast Guard says “presumed human remains” have been found in the wreckage of the Titan submersible.
Debris from the ill-fated submersible was returned to shore on Wednesday in Newfoundland aboard a Canadian-flagged ship that had helped search for the vessel in a remote area of ocean near the wreck of the Titanic.
The Horizon Arctic docked at the port in St. John’s carrying a remotely operated vehicle, or ROV, that had searched the ocean floor about 700 kilometres south of Canada’s easternmost province.
The owner of the ROV, United States-based Pelagic Research Services, says its team successfully completed offshore operations and would remove the company’s equipment from the Horizon Arctic.
“They have been working around the clock now for 10 days, through the physical and mental challenges of this operation, and are anxious to finish the mission and return to their loved ones,” the company said in an email.
Photos from the wharf showed what appeared to be several pieces of the submersible being lifted from the ship, including the Titan’s nose cone with its distinctive circular window.
The Titan imploded during its June 18 descent to the Titanic wreckage site, almost four kilometres below the surface of the sea, resulting in the deaths of all five passengers and crew.
The U.S. Coast Guard declared the men dead Thursday after the ROV spotted the Titan’s wreckage about 500 metres from the bow of the sunken luxury liner.
Stockton Rush, CEO of the Titan’s owner, OceanGate, was piloting the submersible, which was carrying passengers British billionaire Hamish Harding, French explorer and Titanic expert Paul-Henry Nargeolet, and Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his 19-year-old son, Suleman.
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada issued an update late Wednesday, saying its investigators have completed preliminary interviews with those aboard the support vessel Polar Prince, which was the Titan’s mother ship and helped launch the submersible on its fatal dive.
The safety board said the support vessel’s voyage data recorder has been sent to a lab in Ottawa for analysis.
It said it has inspected, documented and catalogued the materials from the Titan’s wreckage and that the materials are now in the possession of the U.S. Coast Guard.
The U.S. Coast Guard, which is leading the international investigation, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on who would examine the debris.
Horizon Maritime, which owns the Horizon Arctic and the Polar Prince, also declined to comment. Pelagic, meanwhile, said its team members weren’t able to provide information related to the ongoing investigation because of “confidentiality and duty of non-disclosure.”