The leader of the search team that discovered the remains of the doomed Titan submersible was moved to tears while recounting the recovery operation.
Ed Cassano, CEO of Pelagic Research Services, said at a news conference that after the submersible’s June 18 disappearance, his company was brought in for the search-and-rescue operation.
“We were always conscious of the crew of the Titan,” Cassano said. “Plain and simple, we were focused on rescue.”
Pelagic deployed its remotely operated vehicle, the Odysseus 6K, and reached the Titanic wreckage roughly 12,500 feet underwater within 90 minutes.
Any hope his team would find the survivors aboard the Titan quickly vanished.
“Shortly after arriving on the seafloor, we discovered the debris of the Titan submersible,” Cassano said during his Friday comments.
“By 12 o’clock, a rescue turned into a recovery.”
While speaking to reporters, Cassano began choking up and appeared to be holding back tears.
“I have to apologize, we are still demobilizing, there’s a lot of emotions, people are tired,” he said, imploring people to “recognize the seriousness of the event and respect the death and range of emotions” for those involved.
Officials believe the 21-foot Titan suffered a “catastrophic implosion” soon after it began its dive on June 18.
The submersible was “pushed beyond its depth rate,” Cassano said.
The five people who died aboard included OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, 61, who piloted the Titan sub. In the days after the disaster more has emerged about how Rush seemingly ignored serious safety concerns while charging wealthy tourists $250,000 for deep-sea trips to see the iconic ship wreckage.
The other passengers were French Titanic expert Paul-Henri Nargeolet, 77; British billionaire Hamish Harding, 58; prominent Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood, 48; and his 19-year-old son, Sulaiman Dawood.
The US Coast Guard said on Wednesday that “presumed human remains” had been discovered among the debris tied to the submersible.
US and Canadian authorities are investigating the tragedy.
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