US Navy Heard Titan Submersible Implode Days Ago: REPORT


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Micaela Burrow Investigative Reporter, Defense
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A top-secret U.S. Navy system picked up sounds of the lost Titan submersible’s implosion moments after it lost communications, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing defense officials familiar with the search.

The Navy began listening for the submersible with the clandestine acoustic detection system, originally meant to pick up on indications of approaching enemy submarines, moments after it broke contact with the surface, the defense official told the WSJ. Moments after the Titan disappeared with five passengers on board, the system identified sounds of an implosion near that helped narrow the scope of the search to the area where the Coast Guard later said remnants of the underwater vessel were found Thursday.

Although inconclusive, the system operators reported the signals to the commander on site, according to the WSJ. The Navy could not say for sure whether the sound originated from the Titan, the official added.

“The U.S. Navy conducted an analysis of acoustic data and detected an anomaly consistent with an implosion or explosion in the general vicinity of where the Titan submersible was operating when communications were lost,” a senior U.S. Navy official told the WSJ. “While not definitive, this information was immediately shared with the Incident Commander to assist with the ongoing search and rescue mission.” (RELATED: Wife Of Missing Submersible Pilot Is Great-Great-Grandaughter Of Passengers Who Sank On Titanic)

Authorities decided “to continue our mission as a search and rescue and make every effort to save the lives on board,” the Navy told the WSJ.

The WSJ did not share the name of the system as the Navy requested it remain undisclosed due to security risks.

A mothership tracking the submersible lost contact roughly two hours after it departed off the coast of St. John’s, Newfoundland, on its journey to the wreckage of the R.M.S. Titanic some 13,000 feet below, on Sunday. Experts said the vessel held about 96 hours of oxygen, sparking hopes that the Titan and its passengers might be found, but it was thought to have run out of oxygen by Thursday morning.

“It looks that the Titan imploded on Sunday on its way down to the Titanic shortly after contact was lost at a depth of around 9,000 feet,” a person with direct knowledge of the matter reportedly told the WSJ.

Searchers from Canada, France and the U.S. discovered debris resembling the front and rear half of the submersible about 1,600 feet from the Titanic, the result of a “catastrophic implosion,” according to the Coast Guard.

Coast Guard Rear Adm. John Mauger said the debris found “is consistent with the catastrophic loss of the pressure chamber,” according to CBS News.

OceanGate Expeditions, the company operating the submersible, said in a statement it believed all five passengers aboard the vessel had been lost, according to Forbes.

The U.S. Navy had dispatched personnel and salvage equipment to St. John’s by Tuesday night, but had not yet secured a ship to ferry the equipment to the suspected wreck site as of Thursday, according to The Messenger, citing a Navy spokesperson.

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