The submersible that went missing on its way to the wreck of the Titanic may have imploded and collapsed into pieces, an expert has told Sky News.
Dr David Gallo, who describes the Titan’s pilot, Paul-Henri Nargeolet, as his “best friend”, said the timeline suggests something happened “mid-water”.
Contact with the vessel was reportedly lost about an hour and 45 minutes after it submerged on Sunday.
But Dr Gallo, a senior adviser with RMS Titanic Inc, noted it takes about two hours to reach the wreck.
“If they weren’t there (at the wreck) that means something had to happen mid-water that caused them to lose power or radio communications,” he said.
The worst case scenario is “probably a collapse – a catastrophic implosion of the sub itself which would be horrific”, Dr Gallo said.
“There’s no coming back from that. I would have to say that has got to be the number one option here – which is unpleasant to think about.
“I don’t know how else you can disappear that quickly.”
Image: The Titan shortly before it was launched. Pic: Action Aviation Should that scenario be accurate then the sub should be very close to where it last pinged a signal back to the surface, Dr Gallo said.
Regarding debris, some of it would have made it to the seafloor while other bits would probably float, he explained.
“It will be a mixture of all those things if that’s the way (it happened) – so there may be no large piece of the sub to recover and there may be no large bits to see from the air.”
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In some ways, Dr Gallo is not surprised this incident has occurred.
“Anyone in the exploration business of the deep sea expected this to happen – not at this particular time, but we knew this was going to happen at some point,” he said.
“We knew darn well it would and we knew all the difficulties there would be: how do you recover from that if the sub is stuck on a shipwreck, if they lose batteries and nothing was done about it?
“There’s no policies, there’s no plan, there’s nothing.”
He continued: “It just frustrates me that now begins the scramble to try to get the right things in the right place at the right time and it’s just an unnecessary step because we did know at some point that this was going to happen.
“And it happened and I think all of us in the community are stunned.”