This is a computer model of what the Titan submersible once looked like. The real one disappeared an hour and 45 minutes into its voyage to the bottom of the North Atlantic. It was supposed to carry its five passengers down to visit the Titanic.
Titanic, the Ship of Dreams. The one that hit an iceberg in 1912 and sank to the bottom of the sea. Of the 2200 people aboard, only 700 would live to tell its story, and this is what the passengers of the Titan came to see.
Part 1 – The Voyage of the Titan: This is the map of Titanic’s maiden voyage. It would be its final one too. The yellow star on the bottom of the map is Titanic’s final resting place, and Titan’s destination.
Take your finger north of that star, then a little west. You’ll find Newfoundland. It’s the island where the Titan Submersible began its journey on Friday, June 16th.
The huge orange boat is an icebreaker named the Polar Prince. OceanGate hired the ship and its crew to get the submersible to the launch site. They arrived on the 17th.
The Polar Prince launched the submersible at 9:30 AM on the 18th. Everything went well for the first hour and a half. The Titan and Polar Prince talked to each other every 15 minutes, but at the 11:30 mark . . . nothing.
That’s when the search began, and the news went out to the world. I heard it around 1PM. It hurt to know that the people inside had 96 hours of air left, and the rescue teams had 4 days to find them. All over the world people like me began praying.
Part 2 – The Search Begins: It all started on Sunday afternoon, from the star that marks Titanic’s location on the map. That’s where Titan disappeared. It’s about 900 miles east of Cape Cod (close to the K in New York). The submersible could be anywhere from the water’s surface down to the wreckage on the ocean floor. That’s 13,000 feet under water!
Leading the search – the US Coast Guard, Navy, and the Canadian Coast Guard. That made sense, but it suprised me that the US Air National Guard, the Royal Canadian Air Force and Navy were looking too. Who knew planes could locate a submersible?!
There were also private commercial and research ships looking too. It’s good to know that so many people took their time, energy, and talents to search for those five people, but it wasn’t easy. The location in the North Atlantic, its weather, darkness, sea conditions, and the cold water temperatures made it almost impossible to find Titan.
These two pictures show three search vehicles. The first is Deep Energy. It’s a ship that lays pipe deep in the ocean. It also has two ROVs (remotely operated vehicles), plus some other equipment that’s perfect to search the seabed for Titan.
The second is a US Coast Guard plane flying over the third, a French research vehicle, the L’Atalante. It has its own ROV, which can go down 20,000 feet. That’s far deeper than Titanic’s resting place, and it can send pictures all the way back to the ship.
An internal memo sent to the Department of Homeland Security reported that crews heard banging and acoustic feedback in the search area on Tuesday. The memo also said a Canadian plane heard the banging every 30 minutes. Sonar focused in on the sounds, and the banging was heard four hours later. More sounds were heard early Wednesday morning by both the US Coast Guard and a Canadian plane.
When those reports made the news, I hoped . . . the five were still alive. But I was a little skeptical about the pounding, until I heard whales could be heard hundreds of miles away, or that submarine crews really pounded on their ships. There was still time to save those five people, so I said a few more prayers.
Part 3 – Three Theories About What Happened:
As soon as Titan disappeared, the news reports speculated on what could have happened to it.
Theory #1 – The submersible was bobbing on the water’s surface.
If it had, it might have looked like this boat and the buoy it’s tied to. That’s what Titan was supposed to do. It had seven backup systems that were designed to return it to the surface, if something went wrong.
I never heard this theory on the TV news. It must have been quickly discarded that first day when nothing was seen by ship, by plane, or by sonar and radar.
Theory #2 – The submersible got tangled in the wreckage.
Titanic broke into 2 main pieces, the bow and the stern. They’re seperated by 2000 feet of ocean floor, and it’s littered with the ship’s debris. This is what’s left of the bow. It sits 12,500 feet underwater. Not only would Titan be hard to find, but it might also be impossible to free, in time.
I heard this theory on the news. They interviewed an expert who’d been in a submersible that got tangled in Titanic’s wreckage. His pilot freed them, got them to the surface in time. That TV expert was worried that Titan’s pilot didn’t have the kind of controls to break the submersible free himself.
Theory #3 – A Catastrophic Implosion happened.
Something went wrong inside Titan, and it collapsed inward upon itself. That something could have been a leak, a power failure, an electrical short circuit, or the hull could have been breached. The water would have pushed down on the submersible with so much force that the implosion would have happened within 2 nanoseconds. That’s two billionths of a second, so Titan would have been destroyed, immediately.
I heard this theory from the start, but when underwater noises were reported, I was like everyone else, hoping the crew was still alive. It wasn’t meant to be. Late on the 21st, the story came out that a US Navy ship picked up the sound of an implosion sometime after Titan disappeared underwater. They told the Coast Guard, but they didn’t share the news. Maybe they didn’t want to give up hope, just in case the crew was still alive.
Part 4 – Honoring the Crew of the Titan:
When I started this post, I knew how I wanted it to end . . . with the passengers aboard the Titan.
I wanted to share a bit about their lives, and to honor their deaths.Each one died doing what they loved, pursuing knowledge, and seeing Titanic for themselves.
A father and son traveled down to Titanic together. Their names, Shahzada and Sulemon Dawood. They’re from Surbiton, in south-west London. Shahzada is survived by his wife and daughter.
Shahzada, at age 48, was the UK vice-chairman of the Engro Corporation. They’re a Pakastani company that specializes in fertilizer, petrochemicals, and engineering projects. He was also a board member for the Prince’s Trust International, one of King Charles III’s charities. Shahzada was an adviser to its international arm, and he focused in on Pakistan.
Suleman, at age 19, just finished his first year of business school at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland. He’s survived by his mother and sister.
Shahzada’s wife, Christine, talked about this trip to a reporter. She had originally planned to go, but then Covid hit. When it was rescheduled, her son took her seat. What stayed with me – was how excited she said her husband and son were about this voyage. They were living their dream . . . traveling down to see Titanic together. I hope when I leave this world, I can do it like the Dawoods, following a dream.
Photo: By Engro - Original publication: TodayImmediate source: https://www.today.com/news/titanic-missing-sub-shahzada-dawood-passengers-rcna90565,
Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=74106816
Hamish Harding was a fellow passenger and adventurer. He lived in Dubai, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. He’s survived by his wife, Linda, two sons, Rory and Giles, a stepdaughter, Lauren, and a stepson, Brian Szasz.
Hamish, aged 58, was the chairman of Action Aviation, a private plane company, and he loved flying. He held an airline transport pilot’s license and had businesss jet ratings for the Gulfstream G650. He was an adventurer, a skydiver, and a trustee of the Explorers Club. He was chosen in 2022 as a Living Legend of Aviation. Last year he went into space with Blue Origins, and this is his picture to prove it.
Hamish was also involved in a luxury tourism company, White Desert. They were the first to offer regular business jets to Antarctica. The South Pole was one of his favorite destinations, and he helped Buzz Aldrin, the second man on the moon, reach a new goal. In 2016 Buzz became the oldest person to make it to the South Pole. His age, 86.
Hamish was the ultimate adventurer, and he died making one last trip . . . to the bottom of the North Atlantic, a place very few humans have reached.
Photo By Blue Origin - Original publication: The GuardianImmediate source: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2023/jun/19/hamish-harding-the-british-explorer-missing-at-sea-near-the-titanic, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=74106831
Paul-Henri Nargeolet was known as Mr. Titanic. He was born in France, and he’s lived in Pawling, New York since 2022. He’s survived by his wife Anne Sarraz-Bournet, two daughters, Chloe and Sidonie, a son Julien, a stepson, John Nathaniel Paschall, and by four grandsons. His 1st wife, Michele Marsh died in 2017.
At age 77 Paul-Henri was the senior passenger, and he once served as a French navy commander. He studied Titanic for 35 years, spent hundreds of hours observing it, and has taken several submarines down to the wreck.
He joined a team in 1987 that brought up some artifacts from the ocean floor. Titanic lies in darkness, and it’s covered in coral. Paul-Henri spoke about seeing it from a submarine lit by projectors. Everyone onboard the ship was speechless for 10 minutes, not a sound could be heard. He said the ship is an oasis in an immense desert. Imagine the deep dark bottom of the ocean. Nothing survives there . . . except on, and around the Titanic. Life flourishes there, thanks to an accident.
Paul-Henri has loved Titanic and its history for over 35 years. It seems fitting for his body to rest beside it. For Mr. Titanic, it is the ship of dreams.
Photo By Harpers Collins - Original publication: ICIImmediate source: https://www.francebleu.fr/infos/faits-divers-justice/titanic-le-chamoniard-paul-henri-nargeolet-serait-a-bord-du-sous-marin-disparu-7075224, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=74106893
Stockton Rush was Titan’s pilot on its final voyage. He was also the co-founder and CEO (chief executive officer) of OceanGate. That’s the company that owned and operated Titan. He’s survived by his wife, Wendy and their two children.
Both Stockton and Wendy have important ancestors. Wendy’s great-great-grandparents died onboard the Titanic in 1912. Their names, Isidor and Ida Blun Straus. Stockton is descended from Richard Stockton and Dr. Benjamin Rush – they were both founding fathers who signed the Declaration of Independence.
Stockton went onto develop several businesses over the last 20 years. At BlueView Technolgies they manufactured high-frequency sonar systems. He also worked at Entomo where he was involved in software development, and at Remote Control Technology Inc. It sounds like each step in his career brought him a little closer to developing Titan.
Stockton was in charge of OceanGate’s financial and engineering divisions too. His vision brought the 4000 and 6000-metre submersibles to life for crews and passengers. I imagine taking this special group of adventurers down to Titanic must have been a big moment. It seems fitting as Stockton’s final mission, and for his final resting place.
Photo By OceanGate - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IHSPhKUUXIM, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=133459795
Photo by Madelgarius - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=133558088
Part 1- 4 – Titan submersible implosion - Wikipedia
Part 2 – https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2023/06/20/titanic-tourist-submarine-missing-live-updates/70336
Part 3 – Wreck of the Titanic - Wikipedia
What Happened to the Titanic Sub? Experts Explained Likely Scenarios. (insider.com)
Part 4 – Titanic sub: what we know about the victims of deep-sea tragedy | Titanic sub incident | The Guardian
When I write, I can only have one voice in my head, mine. A little noise is fine. But too much, or worse yet, WORDS, and I must change rooms or pull out headphones. Then I can write on!