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 where the Coast Guard 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 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.”
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.
Here’s a photo released by the Navy of a Fly-away Deep Ocean Salvage System (FADOSS). This system was most recently used during recovery of an F/A-18E Super Hornet Strike Fighter, from the Mediterranean Sea in July 2022. https://t.co/u1qW8vxjyz pic.twitter.com/Ze1p9CZQrO
— Jim LaPorta (@JimLaPorta) June 21, 2023
Searchers discovered debris resembling the front and rear half of the submersible near the R.M.S. 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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