The US Coast Guard is investigating the cause of the undersea implosion of the Titan submersible and has not ruled out finding human remains while also considering that the probe could lead to criminal charges.
Captain Jason Neubauer, who is chairing the US Coast Guard investigation into the implosion of the vessel, made the statement 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, Cpt Neubauer told a press conference in Boston. He also said the convening of a Marine Board of Investigation is the highest level of investigation conducted by the US Coast Guard.
The Coast Guard opened what it calls a marine board investigation on Friday, Neubauer said and is working with the FBI to recover evidence.
This includes a salvage operation at the debris site on the seabed about 1,600 feet (488 meters) from the bow of the Titanic wreck, about 2-1/2 miles (4 km) below the surface.
The findings will be shared with the International Maritime Organization and other groups ‘to help improve the safety framework for submersible operations worldwide,’ Neubauer said.
He said the Coast Guard is in touch with the families of the five people killed, and that investigators are ‘taking all precautions on site if we are to encounter any human remains.’
The US Coast Guard said Thursday that all five people aboard the submersible had died after the vessel suffered a ‘catastrophic implosion.’