US coast guard 'taking all precautions' in case bodies found in Titan search

26 Jun 2023 11:03am
This undated image courtesy of OceanGate Expeditions, shows their Titan submersible during a descent - AFP
This undated image courtesy of OceanGate Expeditions, shows their Titan submersible during a descent - AFP
LONDON United Kingdom - Investigators looking into the implosion of the Titan submersible are "taking all precautions" in case they find bodies on the sea floor, it has emerged.

Captain Jason Neubauer, who is chairing the US Coast Guard investigation into the implosion of the vessel, made the comments as the search and rescue aspects of the response came to an end.

British adventurer Hamish Harding and father and son Shahzada and Suleman Dawood were killed on board the submersible, alongside the American chief executive of the company responsible for the vessel, Stockton Rush, and French national Paul-Henri Nargeolet.

Salvage operations are continuing and investigators have mapped the accident site, Neubauer told a press conference in Boston, according to German news agency (dpa).

He also said the convening of a Marine Board of Investigation is the highest level of investigation conducted by the US Coast Guard. It is unclear how long it will take.

Investigators are working "in close co-ordination" with the UK Marine Accident Investigation Branch as well as the US National Transportation Safety Board, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada and the French Marine Casualties Investigation Board.

Neubauer told reporters: "I'm not getting into the details of the recovery operations but we are taking all precautions on site if we are to encounter any human remains.

"At this time a priority of the investigation is to recover items from the sea floor.

"We have already mapped the accident site in the field so the other factors would be part of the investigation."

Concerns over the safety of the vessel have emerged since the tragedy. Earlier this week emails from Rush emerged which dismissed safety concerns over the deep-sea vessel.

Neubauer said the investigation could lead to tougher regulations.

He told reporters: "It's an opportunity to learn from the incident and then work with our international partners worldwide to... improve regulations or international safety standards so that they have improved oversight over these operations and to prevent a similar occurrence."

On Saturday, Canadian police said they were looking into the circumstances of the implosion.

Superintendent Kent Osmond, of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), said a team of investigators had been established with the "sole purpose" of determining whether a criminal investigation would be warranted.

The officer said interviews took place with people on board Titan's main support ship, the Polar Prince, on Saturday as part of the investigation.

Confirming preliminary inquiries were being made, Osmond told reporters: "Today, the RCMP initiated an examination of the circumstances that led to the deaths of the five individuals on board the submersible.

"A team of investigators has been established with the sole purpose of answering the question of whether or not a full investigation by the RCMP is warranted.

"Such an investigation will proceed only if our examination of the circumstances indicate criminal, federal or provincial laws may possibly have been broken.

"Once a determination has been made as to whether or not a full investigation will be launched, we will provide an update at that time."

Asked whether the force had any suspicion of criminal activity, he replied: "There is no suspicion of criminal activity per se, but the RCMP is taking initial steps to assess whether or not we will go down that road." - BERNAMA

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