What’s next in the tragic tale of OceanGate’s Titan sub?

It’s too soon to answer all the questions raised by this week’s loss of OceanGate’s Titan submersible and its five-person crew during their dive to the Titanic shipwreck — but the questions are being asked nevertheless.

An international team led by the U.S. Coast Guard is still surveying the site in the wake of June 22’s determination that the sub, built by Everett, Wash.-based OceanGate, was destroyed due to the catastrophic collapse of its pressure chamber. A remotely operated vehicle identified debris from the sub scattered just 1,600 feet from the Titanic’s iconic bow.

Some of the ships and planes that were involved in the search have left the scene, 400 miles off the coast of Newfoundland, but others are continuing to survey a stretch of seafloor 12,500 feet beneath the surface of the North Atlantic. It’s a hard-to-reach region that now serves as the graveyard for two at-sea disasters.

“We will do the best we can to fully map what’s down there,” Paul Hankins, the director of the U.S. Navy’s salvage operations, said during the news briefing announcing the Titan’s destruction.

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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