Investigators in the United States are trying to find out whose remains they have in their possession, as part of the massive investigation into the implosion of the OceanGate Expedition submersible Titan.
Searchers in the North Atlantic Ocean were able to recover large pieces of the submersible, which is believed to have imploded less than two hours after it plunged from the Titanic on June 18. They also found what they believe to be human remains.
“United States medical professionals are conducting a formal DNA analysis of suspected human remains that have been carefully recovered from the wreckage at the incident site,” read a brief statement from the US Coast Guard on Monday.
The remains could belong to one or more of five people: Stockton Rush, Hamish Harding, Suleman Dawood, Shahzada Dawood, and Paul-Henri Nargeolet. All five would have died instantly when the submersible succumbed to the enormous pressure of the ocean at such great depths.
The Titanic sits in about 3,800 meters of water. Questions have since been raised about the integrity of Titan’s hull, which was built using carbon fiber instead of the industry-standard titanium. OceanGate’s experimental approach to deep-sea exploration was criticized by industry experts before the implosion and has been scrutinized by the world amid the public frenzy that followed its demise.
No schedule is given for public hearings
The incident is now being investigated by various agencies in the United States and Canada, with the help of experts in the United Kingdom and France. The United States Coast Guard is in the lead, after calling in a Marine Board of Investigation, the highest level of investigation available to them.
A US Coast Guard spokesperson told Breaking: on Monday that they are still in the fact-finding stage. All evidence recovered from the seabed was turned over to the US Coast Guard, including the submersible’s titanium caps and other parts that were brought to St. John’s on June 28.
Upon completion of the fact-finding stage, the Board of Marine Inquiry will begin public hearings. The board shall have the power to issue subpoenas and discovery orders, and to call witnesses to testify in front of the public.
No dates have been set for those hearings. The Coast Guard reserves the Maritime Investigation Boards for the most serious nautical disasters. More recent examples include the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 and the loss of 33 souls aboard the freighter El Faro off the coast of Florida in 2015.
Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador