June 29 (CNN) – “Presumed human remains” were among the debris and evidence recovered from the seafloor where the doomed Titan submersible’s remnants were found, the US Coast Guard said Wednesday.
The remains were recovered “within the wreckage” of the submersible, the Coast Guard said in a news release – an announcement coming nearly a week after authorities determined the Titanic-bound vessel had imploded in the North Atlantic, killing all five men aboard.
The presumed remains, which the military branch said will be analyzed by US medical professionals, were among the evidence from the submersible that arrived at a Canadian pier Wednesday.
The company that owns the remotely operated vehicles that brought Titan’s remains to the surface, Pelagic Research Services, for now has “successfully completed” the offshore work, it told CNN.
A white panel-like piece – taller than the two men guiding it onto land – and another similarly sized part with cords and wires draped with white tarp were among the debris taken off the anchor handling vessel Horizon Arctic at the Canadian Coast Guard pier in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, photos by The Canadian Press’ Paul Daly show.
It was not immediately clear what those pieces were. Titan was made of carbon fiber and titanium and weighed 23,000 pounds, with room for only five adults, according to OceanGate Expeditions, which operated the craft as part of its offering for extreme tourists to get close to the century-old wreckage of the Titanic for $250,000 per person.
Crew members “have been working around the clock now for 10 days, through the physical and mental challenges of this operation, and are anxious to finish the mission and return to their loved ones,” the company said in a statement.
Pelagic Research Services deferred questions to the US Coast Guard, adding its team cannot comment on or provide any information related to the investigation into the Titan’s demise. The company will hold a news conference at its East Aurora, New York, operations base after “our team has regrouped,” it said.
A Transportation Safety Board of Canada spokesperson declined to comment to CNN, saying more information about its investigation is forthcoming as warranted.
The OceanGate submersible and its five passengers began their descent to the 111-year-old wreckage of the Titanic on the morning of June 18. But about an hour and 45 minutes into its dive, the cramped vessel lost contact with its mother ship and did not surface as expected, kicking off a massive, dayslong multinational search and rescue operation that captured the world’s attention.
On Thursday, the US Coast Guard announced the vessel had suffered a “catastrophic implosion” that presumably killed all those aboard.
The tail cone and other debris from the submersible were found by a remotely operated vehicle about 1,600 feet from the bow of the Titanic.
Over the weekend, the military branch said it convened a Marine Board of Investigation to probe what caused the implosion and to offer possible recommendations “to pursue civil or criminal sanctions as necessary.”
In its news release Wednesday, the Coast Guard said those working on the investigation board are collecting evidence and interviewing witnesses ahead of an expected public hearing for additional witness testimony.
“There is still a substantial amount of work to be done to understand the factors that led to the catastrophic loss of the Titan and help ensure a similar tragedy does not occur again,” Capt. Jason Neubauer, who heads the investigative board, said Wednesday.