An implosion that killed five crew members aboard the Titan submersible is now the focus of investigations by authorities from four countries.
The submarine was wrecked on June 18 less than two hours after beginning a dive to the Titanic shipwreck, claiming the lives of Stockton Rush, CEO of OceanGate Expeditions, father and son Shahzada and Suleman Dawood, Hamish Harding and Paul-Henri Nargeolet .
Secret US Navy listening devices detected an “anomaly” near the Titanic shipwreck shortly after the Titan departed from its supply ship, the Polar Prince. This is believed to be the moment the submarine suffered a “catastrophic implosion” of its carbon fiber hull.
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The frantic search for survivors lasted four days, until a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) found a debris field that later turned out to be parts of the missing submersible. On June 28, the US Coast Guard announced that “believed human remains” had been recovered from the seabed near the debris.
Hopes were raised when the US Coast Guard announced that sonars had picked up popping noises from the search zone, a vast area of the North Atlantic twice the size of Connecticut.
The source of the popping noise could not be identified, but experts have put forward several theories as to its possible origin.
What were the popping noises?
On Tuesday, June 20, buoys detected “knocking noises” coming from the search area, raising little hope that survivors could still be found.
“We do not know the source of this noise, but we have shared this information with naval experts in order to classify it,” said US Coast Guard Rear Admiral John Mauger CBS this morning.
The noise was spotted at 2 a.m. local time by a Canadian P-3 aircraft.
At first it came every 30 minutes and was heard again four hours later, according to the internal government memorandum obtained by CNN.
On Wednesday, June 21, the noises were recorded again.
Officials admitted the sounds were “inconclusive” and being analyzed by naval experts as the search and rescue operation was still ongoing.
“To be honest, we don’t know exactly what the noises are,” First Coast Guard District Captain Jamie Frederick told reporters on Wednesday.
On June 22, Carl Hartsfield, an expert at the Wood Hole Oceanographic Institution, shared CBS News There were many possible explanations for the noise.
“Obviously, the ocean is a very complex place — human sounds, nature sounds, and it’s sometimes very difficult to identify the sources of those sounds,” he told the news site.
The large number of ships that were in the area would also emit sounds detected by sensors.
Some experts theorized that the popping sound was the sound of debris – either from Titanic or Titan – in the ocean.
Jeff Karson, professor emeritus of earth and environmental sciences at Syracuse University, said online mail during the search it was determined that the noise could be a “complicated echo” originating from sounds bouncing around Titanic’s debris field.
“It’s just not about bouncing off of something. It bounces off a lot of things. And it’s like dropping a marble in a tin can. It’s rattling around and that would confuse the location,” he told the publication.
He said the suggestion that the bangs may have been linked to survivors was “wishful thinking.”
“Does it really pop or is it just an unfamiliar noise?” I think that’s a more accurate description at the moment,” he said last Wednesday.
Stefan Williams, a professor of marine robotics at the University of Sydney, said insider The sounds could have been made by marine life such as whales.
He said there had been reports of stranded submarine crews banging on the ship’s hull to indicate their location and that “acoustic noise was propagating”.
Chris Parry, a former commander in the British Royal Navy, told TalkTV The sounds could come from any number of underwater sources.
“There is a lot of mechanical noise in the sea. Trying to distinguish it from knocking sounds is a stupid task.”