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19 June, 2024
 
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Navy withheld Titan Submersible's implosion info during search

Coast guard confirms Titan Submersible's catastrophic implosion near Titanic Shipwreck

Source: The Insider

At least some in the upper echelons of the US military were aware of the Titan submersible's fate days before the rest of the world, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

The US Navy first detected a sound that was most likely the Titan's implosion soon after the vessel lost contact with its mother ship Sunday during an exploratory dive to the Titanic shipwreck more than 2 miles beneath the ocean surface, the Journal reported Thursday.

A top-secret acoustic-detection system that the Navy uses to identify enemy submarines first registered a sound resembling an implosion near the since-discovered debris site on Sunday, US defense officials told the outlet.

The Navy didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.

Navy officials began searching for sounds from the missing Titan almost immediately after it lost contact, according to the newspaper.

"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 Navy official told the 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."

A senior Navy official told The Washington Post the service wouldn't usually make that kind of information public until after the conclusion of the search for survivors. Until then, the person said, it's nothing more than a "data point."

That the Navy detected the sounds — and withheld the information from the public for four days — wasn't surprising given the US's decades-long history of using devices to detect underwater activity, Mark Cancian, a senior advisor with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told the Post.

"I would be surprised if they hadn't heard it," he said. "They suspected what happened but couldn't be sure. What you're looking at is just lines on a graph. And if you try to convince people you weren't doing a search because the lines on a graph indicated an implosion, that wouldn't be acceptable to many."

Coast Guard officials on Thursday said the Titan appeared to have suffered a "catastrophic loss of the pressure chamber," imploding and scattering its debris 1,600 feet from the famous shipwreck.

The five passengers' deaths would have been instantaneous, Stefan Williams, a professor of marine robotics at the University of Sydney whose lab works with uncrewed submersibles, previously told Insider.

Rear Adm. John Mauger of the Coast Guard said at a press conference that the implosion would have "generated significant broadband sound down there that the sonar buoys would have picked up."

Officials told the Journal that the Navy couldn't definitively conclude that the sound detected on its system came from the Titan but that the signal helped narrow the scope of the search.

The search for the vessel prompted a massive international effort, including Canadian authorities, commercial vessels, and a French vessel that deployed a remotely operated vehicle.

The device, capable of diving 20,000 feet underwater, discovered the debris believed to be part of the missing Titan on Thursday morning.

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Cyprus  |  shipwreck  |  navy

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