Toronto: Canadian authorities on Saturday launched a probe into the fatal occurrence involving the Canadian-flagged vessel Polar Prince and the privately-operated submersible Titan, which would have imploded and killed all five people on board.
The Canadian-flagged cargo vessel Polar Prince was at the Titanic wreck site, 325 nautical miles south-southeast of Cape Race, Newfoundland and Labrador, providing surface support to the submersible Titan.
There were 17 crew members and 24 people on board the Polar Prince.
Five people from the Polar Prince were on board the Titan and approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes after the submersible began its descent, the support vessel lost contact, according to the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB).
The US Coast Guard on Thursday confirmed that the debris found on the ocean floor near the Titanic wreckage consisted of pieces of the missing submersible. As a result, the five people on board the Titan are presumed dead.
“In accordance with the Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board Act and international agreements, the TSB, as the investigation authority of the flag state of the support vessel involved in the occurrence, will conduct a safety investigation regarding the circumstances of this operation conducted by the Canadian-flagged vessel Polar Prince,” said the agency.
A team of TSB investigators was set to travel to St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, to gather information, conduct interviews, and assess the occurrence.
“In the coming days, we will coordinate our activities with other agencies involved,” said the Canadian agency.
Debris from the OceanGate Expeditions‘ Titan submersible was found late on Thursday, confirming all those aboard had died.
The five passengers included Hamish Harding, a billionaire and explorer; Paul-Henry Nargeolet, a French explorer; Shahzada Dawood and his son, Suleman Dawood, members of a prominent Pakistani family; and OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush.
The bodies of the five explorers are unlikely to be recovered.