Titan submersible implosion: Investigation into accident taking longer than planned, Coast Guard says

The submersible imploded on a trip to the Titanic last year.

June 14, 2024, 2:32 PM

The investigation into the ill-fated Titan submersible's dive to the location of the Titanic will now take longer than expected, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

"The investigation into the implosion of the Titan submersible is a complex and ongoing effort," Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation Chair Jason Neubauer said in a statement Friday. "We are working closely with our domestic and international partners to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the incident."

The initial timeline for the investigation called for a report to be released within a year.

Five people were killed when the OceanGate submersible imploded in June 2023, including the company's CEO, Stockton Rush.

In this undated file photo, the Titan submersible, operated by OceanGate Expeditions to explore the wreckage of the sunken SS Titanic, is shown.
EyePress News via Shutterstock, FILE

The Coast Guard gave two reasons for the delay, including "the need to contract two salvage missions to secure vital evidence and the extensive forensic testing required."

"We're grateful for the international and interagency cooperation which has been vital in recovering, preserving and forensically testing evidence from a remote offshore region and extreme depth," Neubauer added in the statement. "The MBI is committed to ensuring that we fully understand the factors that led to this tragedy in order to prevent similar occurrences in the future."

The Coast Guard also sent best wishes to the families of the victims ahead of the anniversary of the implosion on June 19. In addition to Rush, those killed on the vessel included: Titanic researcher Paul-Henri Nargeolet, British businessman Hamish Harding, Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his 19-year-old son, Suleman.

OceanGate suspended all exploration and commercial operations after the deadly implosion.

While the investigation into what caused the fatal incident continues, outside experts previously called the carbon fiber construction of the Titan fundamentally flawed and a whistleblower who worked on a predecessor to the Titan vessel raised concerns about the inefficiency of the hull design. Rush had previously defended the decision to manufacture the submersible with carbon fiber, saying he believed it would have a better strength-to-buoyancy ratio than titanium.

ABC News' Meredith Deliso contributed to this report.

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