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Coast Guard finds signs of missing Titanic sub

The US Coast Guard has announced the discovery of a “debris field” near the sunken wreck of the Titanic. The debris could provide clues as to the fate of a deep-sea submersible that vanished near the wreck on Sunday.

“A debris field was discovered within the search area by [a Remotely Operated Vehicle] near the Titanic,” the Coast Guard’s northeastern district said in a statement on Thursday. The military branch said that the information was currently being evaluated, and that a press conference would be held later on Thursday afternoon.

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The existence of debris suggests that the submersible suffered a catastrophic failure and imploded more than three kilometers below the Atlantic Ocean. If the sub did not implode, its five-man crew ran out of oxygen three hours before the Coast Guard’s announcement, according to estimates from the service on Wednesday.

The OceanGate Titan lost contact with its surface vessel, the Polar Prince, around an hour and 45 minutes into its dive on Sunday morning. OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, French mariner Paul-Henry Nargeolet, British adventurer Hamish Harding, Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood, and his son Sulaiman Dawood, were all on board at the time of the disappearance.

The Coast Guard immediately began searching an area of about 20,000 square kilometers, assisted by the Canadian military. Throughout Tuesday and Wednesday, a Canadian P-3 surveillance plane reported hearing banging sounds from an area close to where the submersible went missing. However, neither Canadian or American authorities could determine what was causing the noises.

The search for the submersible drew worldwide attention, and revealed some red flags at OceanGate. Speaking to CBS News in November, Rush explained that the vessel was entirely controlled with a generic bluetooth video game controller, which online sleuths discovered had a dismal reputation for reliability.

In an undated interview with Teledyne Marine, Rush once boasted about hiring employees based on diversity, stating that unlike others in the industry, he rejected job applications from “50-year-old white guys,” as he didn’t find them “inspirational.”

READ MORE: Titanic divers missing at sea

The Titan got lost for two and a half hours during a dive to the Titanic filmed by CBS News. Marine experts warned for years that the vessel was unsafe, and one of OceanGate’s former employees sued the company over safety issues in 2018, claiming that the company was cutting corners and risking a “catastrophic” accident.

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