The US Navy detected an acoustic signature consistent with an implosion on Sunday in the general area where the Titanic-bound submersible was diving when it lost communication with its mother ship, a senior Navy official told CNN Thursday.
The Navy then immediately relayed that information to the on-scene commanders leading the search effort, and it was used to narrow down the area of the search, the official said.
But the sound of the implosion was determined to be “not definitive,” the official said, and the multinational efforts to find the submersible continued as a search and rescue effort.
“Any chance of saving a life is worth continuing the mission,” the official said.
The Wall Street Journal was first to report about the acoustic signature picked up by the Navy.
That insight comes the same day the US Coast Guard announced the submersible suffered a “catastrophic implosion,” killing all five people on board.
The tail cone and other debris from the missing submersible were found by a remotely operated vehicle about 1,600 feet from the bow of the Titanic, which rests about 13,000 feet deep in the North Atlantic Ocean.
“This is an incredibly unforgiving environment down there on the sea floor and the debris is consistent with a catastrophic implosion of the vessel,” US Coast Guard Rear Adm. John Mauger, the First Coast Guard District commander, told reporters in a Thursday news conference.
Five different major pieces of debris from the submersible, known as the “Titan,” were found in the area, and each end of the pressure hull was found in a different place, according to Paul Hankins, US Navy Director of Salvage Operations and Ocean Engineering.
The families were immediately notified, Mauger said.
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