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US Coast Guard launches probe into sub tragedy

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States (US) Coast Guard said on Sunday it had launched an investigation into the cause of the underwater implosion that destroyed the small submersible Titan, with the loss of all five people aboard during a dive to the Titanic wreck.

The Coast Guard said it had created a marine board of investigation (MBI), its highest level of probe, for this drama and ultimately tragedy in the North Atlantic that drew worldwide attention. “My primary goal is to prevent a similar occurrence by making the necessary recommendations to enhance the safety of the maritime domain worldwide,” the Coast Guard’s chief investigator and leader of this probe Jason Neubauer told a press conference in Boston.

“The MBI is already in its initial evidence-collection phase, including debris salvage operations at the incident site,” he added. Neubauer said the US probe could also make recommendations on the possible pursuit of civil or criminal sanctions “as necessary.”

Titan was reported missing last Sunday and the Coast Guard said on Thursday that all five people aboard the submersible had died after the vessel suffered an implosion.

A debris field was found on the seafloor, 500 metres from the bow of the Titanic, which sits more than four kilometres below the ocean’s surface.