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What May Have Happened To Titan Submersible Passengers [With Timeline]

Written By Jennifer Ferris
Last updated: July 21, 2023

The devastating accident of the Titan Submersible, which left five passengers unaccounted for. On June 18, 2023, the last communication from this deep-sea exploration vessel was recorded at 1.45 pm GMT.

In this article, we will explore what happened to these brave adventurers by outlining timeline details and potential causes and consequences of their disappearance. What followed was an intensive search and rescue mission that ultimately failed to bring the passengers home safely.

Here you'll find out what experts believe may have caused such a catastrophic incident - while discovering troubling facts about safety regulations for experimental underwater voyages like none before.

Timeline of Events

The timeline of the Titan submersible's demise began on June 18, 2023, when it left its mother ship and went missing in the ocean's depths four days later.

16–17 June, preparations

The late spring days of 16th and 17th June saw the team at OceanGate, an American tourism and expeditions company, deep in preparation. Their mission? A daring expedition to view the wreck of the iconic Titanic.

On board during these vital preparatory stages were several individuals: OceanGate's CEO Stockton Rush, Paul-Henri Nargeolet, Hamish Harding, Shahzada Dawood, and his son Suleman. Together they formed a capable crew destined for a journey that was scheduled to be approximately 10-hour round trip into the watery depths off Newfoundland’s coast.

Rigorous checks on Titan submersible became routine during this phase. The vessel is designed with safety in mind; it carries enough oxygen to last five people on board for up to a staggering 96 hours. One among them was none other than Stockton Rush himself – adding another layer of personal commitment from OceanGate's leadership.

However, clouds of concern loomed over their heads - stems from previous instances where OceanGate faced mechanical issues and weather-related cancellations or delays. Most notably stood out court records revealing how they had to rebuild Titan's hull back in 2020 due to cyclic fatigue.

As preparations drew towards its conclusion with each passing hour on those two days in June, anticipation mingled with apprehension amongst both participants as well as observers alike.

Sunday, June 18: Start of the Unfortunate Adventure

On the morning of Sunday, June 18th, 2023 the Titan submersible and its passengers set off on an ambitious expedition to explore the wreckage of the Titanic. In a matter of hours something extraordinary happened – the signal from Titan with its mothership was abruptly lost within 1 hour 45 minutes into the dive at its dive site.

The communication between the Titan and its support vessel, Polar Prince, was steady until 11:47 a.m., almost two hours into their adventurous descent. Suddenly radio silence prevailed as contact with Titan abruptly ceased. From this point onward, all attempts to restore communication remained futile.

As the clock ticked away and the time for the scheduled resurface at about 6:10 p.m. came around too quickly without any sign from the missing vessel or its crew members. It wasn't long before search teams were dispatched by US and Canadian coast guards along with several commercial ships in an attempt to locate Titan.

Reports suggest ominous banging noises being heard on Tuesday following the disappearance spiked hopes of finding survivors but alas! The source remained undecipherable leaving behind a mysterious echo in depths unknown.

In retrospect, it seems apparent that something catastrophic must have happened during that dive resulting in what we now refer to as a 'Titan Submersible Implosion'. But back then, nobody knew what had truly transpired beneath those cold ocean waves...

Monday, June 19: A race against time

On Monday, June 19, the race against time to locate the missing Titan submersible kickstarted in earnest after it was reported overdue on Sunday night. The urgency and gravity of the events prompted a large-scale search operation that involved multiple cooperating agencies.

In addition, experts noted its remote location made it increasingly difficult for rescuers to find the five-person crew.

The incident had captured worldwide attention, with British businessman and explorer Alistair Krichevsky being connected to it as one of its passengers aboard the Titan Submarine. Reports indicated that all five passengers signed waivers acknowledging risks associated with deep-sea voyages prior to joining this fatal voyage to explore the Titanic wreck.

Tuesday, June 20: An interminable wait and dwindling oxygen supply

Tuesday, June 20, marked a critical moment for the passengers on board the Titan submersible as their oxygen supply neared its end. Desperate attempts to locate and rescue them were being made while the world thought that the passengers waited in an interminable wait inside the submersible with a dwindling oxygen supply.

With only 16 hours left from their 96-hour estimated breathable air due to consumption, time was running out for those on board. The remaining oxygen levels weighed heavily on everyone involved leading a race against time to save them before it ran out entirely and put passengers’ lives at risk of suffocation and other dangers associated with lack of breathable air several hundred meters undersea.

By this point, family members had received no communication from any not expected survivors and tragedy seemed inevitable unless someone could locate them in time.

Wednesday, June 21: A search-and-rescue mission, 100%

The search for Titans crew and passengers was conducted within an area twice as large as Connecticut at such extreme depths in incredibly turbulent conditions proving challenging for even expert diving teams.

However, after four days' work and many false leads concerning possible debris field discovered along with presumed human remains appeared indicating definite fatalities despite rescue efforts remaining 100% positive during every stage of the operations.

Thursday, June 22: Official Statement & Discovery of Debris

On this day, the search-and-rescue mission for the Titan submersible reached its 96th hour. The crew aboard the missing vessel was comprised of four passengers and a pilot on an expedition to view the wreckage of the Titanic.

A Navy base detected a possible implosion of that submarine near to where it disappeared from contact with surface traffic. On this same day, officials confirmed their tremendous fears for those involved—the Titan had indeed imploded as constructed based off debris found near Titanic’s wreckage—resulting in tragedy and five dead passengers underneath thousands of feet of ocean water.

Crucial pieces have been placed together in order to describe what happened on that fateful submersible: shortly after the loss of contact with the surface transmission, an implosion occurred which caused in spontaneous death of all five.


The tragic incident aboard the Titan submersible resulted in the untimely deaths of five esteemed individuals. Among them was OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, a driving force behind the mission and well-known figure in deep-sea exploration. Also on board were Paul-Henri Nargeolet, a respected French Titanic expert, as well as British billionaire Hamish Harding.

What May Have Happened To Titan Submersible Passengers [With Timeline]

Completing this unfortunate roster were Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son Sulaiman Dawood. The father-son duo had embarked on what was supposed to be an amazing adventure to explore the depths of one of history's most iconic wreckages.

The implosion occurred after approximately 48 seconds to one minute into their descent. It is believed that structural issues with Titan's carbon fiber hull led to an unforeseen increase in underwater pressure at around 9,000 feet below surface level. This triggered a devastating compression and implosion.

Such intense forces would have allowed water to rush inside at nearly 620 mph - a catastrophic event that would have ended lives instantaneously. In such extreme depths, even a small leak due to any geometric imperfection or weakness in the material can be lethal.

Recovery operations following such incidents are fraught with challenges; it remains unclear if attempts will be made due to these complexities.

This tragedy has raised serious concerns about OceanGate's safety record and ignited debates over design considerations for deep-sea vessels like Titan under extreme underwater conditions.

To those who knew them, each passenger aboard was more than just names – they were fathers, sons, and pioneers who shared an unyielding passion for exploration – making their loss all the more profound.

Also Read: When was the Titanic Wreckage Found and Who Found It?

The Implosion of the Titan Submersible

The implosion of the Titan Submersible has been linked to severe water pressures, which caused its hull to collapse shortly after being deployed on June 18, 2023.

What caused the implosion?

The implosion of the Titan submersible was a catastrophic event caused by extremely high water pressure. As the vessel descended too deep and its hull failed to withstand the extreme pressure of over 10,000 pounds per square inch, it collapsed inward.

This phenomenon is known as an implosion - this is when pressure builds inside an object until it bursts internally, whereas, for an explosion, energy is released outwardly from the object.

In this case, all five passengers lost their lives in what experts have deemed an instantaneous death due to water rushing in quickly upon the destruction of a structure and failure in material above a specific safety limit.

What happens in an implosion?

Underwater structures such as submersibles can be victims of catastrophic implosions, in which the pressure exerted by surrounding water causes a sudden and catastrophic collapse of the structural hull.

This is exactly what happened to the Titan Submersible near the wreckage site of the Titanic. The Navy detected the implosion through acoustic data, indicating an anomaly consistent with an implosion or explosion as water pressed against and shattered its body.

Experts suggest that it was because of this intense implosion mechanism that all five passengers on board perished instantly without any hope for rescue or survival, underscoring just how dangerous deep-sea exploration can be for both marine life and humans alike.

Titan’s carbon fiber construction blamed for the accident

The Titan submersible's carbon fiber construction is under fire following the catastrophic implosion. The belief that the carbon-fiber hull led to this incident has raised several questions about its design.

To understand why, let's take a closer look at what happened. First, it appears the front viewport of the Titan failed. This failure would have instantly exposed the inside of the vessel to immense pressure from water and ushered in an almost instantaneous implosion - all in a matter of milliseconds.

Next, upon examination of retrieved debris from the Titanic’s wreck site, experts noted an absence of large chunks of carbon fiber and remnants on joints. These findings suggest that it was indeed the carbon-fiber hull that failed first during this disaster.

Previous safety doubts cast over OceanGate’s vessels can’t be ignored either in this context. As early as 2018, former OceanGate director sounded alarm bells about potential risks associated with Titan's design. Particularly concerning were allegations indicating inadequate testing for Titan’s unique carbon fiber build, which was chosen over traditional metal builds due to its lightweight advantages.

In light of these revelations, conversations around industry-accepted safety guidelines are gaining momentum as well as highlighting a clear need for official oversight and certification processes within submarine design protocols.

What really happened to bodies as the Titan submersible imploded

The implosion of the Titan submersible, as tragic and unexpected as it was, occurred in an instant due to the immense pressure exerted on the vessel's hull. This might sound gruesome, but it’s important to understand that such an event is swift – so swift, in fact, that experts suggest those aboard likely didn’t have time even to register what was happening.

The science behind deep-sea implosions points towards an unimaginably rapid sequence of events. When a submarine hull collapses under water pressure at these depths, it moves inward at about 1,500mph (2,414km/h). The sudden compression causes the air inside to auto-ignite - this isn't a slow crush but rather akin to an explosion from within.

In this scenario with the "Titan", given its catastrophic implosion during its descent near the Titanic wreck site - about 3,800m below sea level - one can only surmise that all five passengers onboard would have died instantly. More disturbingly, perhaps for those left questioning is knowing there would not be any retrievable remains left due to such extreme pressures and temperatures involved in this type of failure.

There's no sugarcoating such grim facts: No bodies will be recovered from Titan's wreckage. This harsh reality makes closure difficult for families and colleagues alike waiting ashore. Yet understanding this brutal end also underscores just how perilous deep-sea exploration truly is and highlights ongoing questions around safety measures in place during these missions.

The 5 passengers aboard Titan believed to be dead after catastrophic implosion

On Wednesday, June 21st, the search for OceanGate's Titan submersible ended in tragedy when officials confirmed that it had suffered a catastrophic implosion. The announcement indicated that all five passengers who were on board are believed to have died upon impact.

Reports of an impending disaster had begun on Sunday where a transmission from the crew reported something “truly extraordinary” after descending onto Titanic site. Over the course of Tuesday and Wednesday searches intensified as fears grew over their diminishing oxygen supply, before they were ultimately forced to accept dramatic consequences beyond their control leading to a light switch being switched off and likely signing waivers to acknowledge risk hours prior tot eh tragic event.

International experts continue investigating what caused this unprecedented explosion while others point at lack of certification for such deep-sea voyages or murky regulations, with search and rescue mission estimated costs up in millions of dollars followed by withdrawal suit by adventurers post Godzilla Implosion incident.

Passengers likely signed waivers to acknowledge the risk

Before beginning their deep-sea adventure aboard Titan Submersible, the five passengers are believed to have signed liability waivers that acknowledged certain risks and warned them of potential physical injury, disability, emotional trauma and even death.

The waivers were probably similar to liability release forms used in high-risk activities such as skydiving. According to reviewing by The Associated Press, these legal documents serve two main purposes: firstly, providing a legally binding acknowledgment of risk which absolves operators from any responsibility should any incident or accident occur; secondarily outlining safety guidelines for passengers to take extreme caution while enjoying the activity.

Therefore, despite signing waiver forms beforehand it is possible that lawsuits may still be presented against the operator of Titan Submersible due its questionable engineering which is ultimately responsible for catastrophic implosion resulting in huge loss of life.

Investigation and Safety Concerns

The Canadian Transportation Board initiated an investigation to evaluate the safety of deep sea exploration operations, as well as other related concerns related to the Titan submersible incident.

Canada's Transportation Board launches investigation

In the wake of the catastrophic implosion of the Titan submersible, Canada's Transportation Safety Board (TSB) has initiated an inquiry into what caused this tragedy. As part of their investigation process, they are scrutinizing the Polar Prince, a Canadian-flagged ship that served as the mothership for Titan.

Their aim is to determine whether any safety violations or negligence may have taken place leading up to and during the fatal occurrence involving the submersible.

The TSB is partnering with its counterpart from the U.S., namely, the U.S Coast Guard who will take charge in actively gathering all relevant evidence and information regarding why such a tragedy occurred in order to identify potential failure points.

Prior concerns

While the Titan submersible's ill-fated Titanic expedition may have come as a shock to many, concerns about the vessel's safety were not entirely new. As early as 2018, red flags were being raised within and outside OceanGate, the company behind the submersible.

First off, we had David Lochridge, who served as OceanGate’s director of marine operations. He alleged that OceanGate wasn't conducting thorough testing on Titan's carbon fiber hull - a critical aspect considering pressure at Titanic wreck depths could lead to catastrophic implosion. Lochridge also advocated for inspection and certification by a classification agency which would provide an independent assessment of Titan's design and safety features.

In fact, his insistence on these concerns allegedly led to his termination from the company - a claim that was later settled out of court after OceanGate accused him of breaching his contract.

But voices raising alarm weren't confined within OceanGate alone. The chair of Marine Technology Society’s Submarine Committee expressed unanimous concern over both Titan's development and its planned Titanic expeditions. This shows that apprehensions regarding safety standards were quite prevalent in maritime circles before disaster struck.

One notable interaction happened between Will Kohnen, an expert in underwater technology & CEO Stockton Rush where they "agreed to disagree" on looming issues surrounding Titan’s operational integrity – yet another hint towards ignored cautionary signals.

All in all, it seems clear there existed several warnings signs leading up to the fatal dive; their dismissal might have played part in this tragic incident.

Experts highlight murky regulations for deep-sea voyages

There is increasing international attention regarding the murky regulations surrounding deep-sea exploration following the implosion of Oceangate's Titan submersible. Aboard was five individuals en route to explore the Titanic wreckage and investigate what may have been an unprecedented find on June 18th.

Investigations suggest that communication failures and navigation issues likely caused catastrophic events to transpire, leading to their disappearance.

Experts point out that further review should be conducted into current safety standards as well as the potential risks associated with deep-sea voyages. Thus far there has only been self-regulation certifying these expeditions are up to standard; however critics point out this certification process is far from being objective or rigorous enough which could lead to potentially dangerous situations for future adventurers afloat in uncharted waters.

Critics point to the lack of certification for the Titan submersible

The lack of certification for the Titan submersible has caused major public outcry, raising serious concerns about the safety measures associated with it. As per experts, this raises significant red flags with regards to communication and navigation capabilities in deep-sea voyages.

What is more alarming is that some reports indicate that this particular vessel had minimal regulation and may not have undergone regular safety inspections prior to its mission. The underlying implication being that any accident incurred due to a technical failure would be impossible for passengers or crew members to anticipate.

In addition, media evaluations have suggested that an employee working on board was dismissed after voicing their security issues internally –a further testament towards how negligent guidelines surrounding submarine standards had grown over time.

Cost and Consequences

The search for Titan is predicted to cost millions, while the consequences of this disaster may affect future regulations in underwater exploration. Will we ever know what happened?.

Cost of search for Titan expected to stretch into millions of dollars

The cost of the search for the missing Titan submarine is expected to be extremely high, most likely reaching into the millions of dollars. On its own, the US Coast Guard has estimated that their bill will total in the range of several million dollars.

This is unprecedented as this is believed to be one of a kind situation with no comparison references available. Experts have deemed recovery, rather than rescue at this point due to an implosion resulting from unknown causes on June 21st.

Investigations so far have indicated that five passengers were on board including one pilot and four mission specialists, although none are suspected survivors at this time due to lack of oxygen supply and other environmental factors related to being deep underwater when it happened.

Adventurers drop OceanGate fraud lawsuit after Titan tragedy

In the wake of the tragic incident involving OceanGate’s Titan submersible, a pair of adventurers who had sued OceanGate for fraud prior to the accident have decided to drop their claim against the company.

As news broke about five passengers believed lost following implosion of the deep-sea vessel, it is presumed that any potential legal action and grievances from those affected by this tragedy will now shape regulatory changes regarding offshore safety standards.

The decision made by these two seafaring adventurers marks a powerful moment in time as they not only witnessed first hand what may have caused the fatal incident but also showed great courage in understanding that justice must be found on other avenues than litigation.


The disappearance of the Titan Submersible and its five passengers is a tragedy that will echo throughout the deep-sea exploration community for years to come. The exact circumstances leading up to the implosion are still shrouded in mystery, but experts have suggested it was likely an incident involving mechanical failure or loss of cabin pressure from rapid descent.

Canada's Transportation Board has launched an investigation into safety measures surrounding deep-sea explorations, while critics point to the lack of certification for submersibles like Titan.

Regardless, the cost associated with searching for survivors is expected to be high—estimated anywhere between several hundred thousand dollars into millions—and necessary action must be taken if other vessels hope to avoid similar tragedies.

Charles Eames

Jennifer Ferris, a passionate science enthusiast, intertwines her love for exploration and discovery in every word she writes. With a background in both biology and physics, she brings a unique perspective to her compelling science literature. Her ability to convey complex ideas in an accessible and engaging way has made Ferris a beloved author for readers of all ages.

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