A top-secret acoustic system operated by the U.S. Navy detected the implosion of the Titan submersible days before it was found by the Coast Guard.
The Navy system, which is not publicly known, is designed to detect underwater noise from a variety of sources, including submarines, ships, and explosions. The system is so sensitive that it can detect even the smallest underwater disturbances.
According to a senior Navy official, the system detected an “anomaly” in the area where the Titan was operating on Sunday morning. The anomaly was consistent with an implosion or explosion, and the Navy passed the information on to the Coast Guard.
The Coast Guard continued to search for the Titan, but the debris field was not found until Thursday. The debris was consistent with a catastrophic implosion, and the Coast Guard concluded that all five crew members had been killed.
“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 Wall Street Journal in a statement. “While not definitive, this information was immediately shared with the Incident Commander to assist with the ongoing search and rescue mission.”
OceanGate, the company operating the Titan, announced Thursday afternoon that all five people on board the vessel had died.
“We now believe that our CEO Stockton Rush, Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman Dawood, Hamish Harding, and Paul-Henri Nargeolet, have sadly been lost,” the statement said.
Marine scientist and rescue expert David Mearns said that due to the extreme amount of pressure that was present at that depth, those on board would have been killed instantly.
“The only saving grace is that it would have been immediate — literally in milliseconds — and the men wouldn’t have known what was happening,” he said.
The Navy has not released any further details about the acoustic system, but the revelation that it detected the Titan’s implosion raises questions about why the Coast Guard was not informed sooner.
— Dev (@riteshdevseth) June 23, 2023