The crew leader of the team dispatched to rescue the doomed Titan submersible fought back tears as he recalled the moment they found wreckage of the ship on the seabed.
Edward Cassano, CEO of Pelagic Research Services, gave a news conference on Friday where he set out a timeline for his company’s response after it was called to help search for the missing submarine.
He said Titan operator OceanGate contacted them on June 18 with a request for deployment of its Odysseus 6K deep-water remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and “started putting together a team immediately.”
Mr. Cassano told reporters in New York that they were making their way to the crime scene the next day, adding, “We were always vigilant about the crew of the Titan.” “Plain and simple, we were focused on the rescue .”
They joined the huge ongoing search operation within 24 hours and soon after launched the ROV, which took 90 minutes to reach the bottom of the North Atlantic.
He said: “Shortly after reaching the seabed, we discovered the wreckage of the Titan submersible. Of course we continued to document the location and unfortunately at 12pm the rescue became a salvage.”
Visibly moved, he apologized for the break and added: “There are a lot of emotions.” People are tired.’
When asked what he thought of the Titan’s voyage, Mr. Cassano said that based on his own experience with a company focused on deep-sea exploration, he believed the crew was motivated by “a passion and a love of exploration.” .
British adventurer Hamish Harding and father and son Shahzada and Suleman Dawood were killed aboard the deep-sea ship, as were OceanGate Expeditions CEO Stockton Rush and French national Paul-Henri Nargeolet.
Officials announced that the Titan suffered a “catastrophic implosion” after part of the ship was discovered near Titanic’s bow. The wreck was then recovered from the seabed.
More wreckage from the submarine was dumped Wednesday in St. John’s, Canada, along with what are believed to be human remains.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said it was investigating the five deaths.
Safety investigators from Canada’s Transportation Safety Board (TSB) conducted investigations into Titan’s main support ship, the Polar Prince, after it docked in St. John’s Harbour.
The Titan submersible lost contact with tour operator OceanGate Expeditions an hour and 45 minutes into the start of the two-hour descent to the wreck, and the vessel was reported missing eight hours after the loss of communications.
The company charged each passenger $250,000 to participate in the trip.
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