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Coast Guard launches investigation into Titan submersible loss

The U.S. Coast Guard has launched a Marine Board of Investigation (MBI) — its highest level of inquiry — into the cause of an underwater implosion that destroyed the Titan submersible with the loss of five people aboard during a deep-sea dive to the site of the Titanic wreck.

The Polar Prince research vessel lost contact with the small submersible about 1 hour and 45 minutes into its dive on June 18, 2023. After an extensive search lasting several days, debris from the Titan was found about 500 yards off the bow of the iconic ocean liner that sank on its maiden voyage in April 1912.

The Coast Guard MBI will investigate the cause of the implosion and whether misconduct or negligence might have contributed to the incident. It will also determine whether a crime may have been committed and look for evidence of a possible civil offense, Coast Guard officials said Sunday.

The MBI inquiry also will determine if there is a need for new laws or regulations to “prevent the recurrence” of the incident.

“Upon completion of the investigation, the Board will issue a report to the Commandant [of the Coast Guard] with the evidence collected, the facts established, its conclusions and recommendations,” Coast Guard officials said.

The Coast Guard MBI is working in “close cooperation” with other national and international agencies to determine what happened to the Titan submersible, including the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, the Canadian Transportation Safety Board, the French Marine Casualties Investigation Board and Britain’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch.

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