The harrowing events surrounding the catastrophic implosion of OceanGate’s “Titan” submersible in mid-June have captivated the public’s attention. Now, a recently released report sheds light on the potential experiences of the passengers in the final seconds before the tragic incident.
On Sunday, June 18, the U.S. Navy detected an anomaly consistent with an implosion or explosion near the Titan’s location, coinciding with the loss of communication. Experts feared the worst.
José Luis Martín, an expert in submarines with a Ph.D. in electrical engineering, conducted a detailed analysis that offers insight into the last moments aboard the Titan. According to Martín, the five crew members, including the late OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, were likely aware of the impending disaster in the 48 seconds preceding the submersible’s implosion.
Martín’s study incorporated various parameters such as weight, thrust, speed, mass, acceleration, and the coefficient of friction of water against a falling body to calculate the descent of the submersible.
Speculating on the sequence of events, Martín suggests that after losing communication with the support vessel at 11:15 a.m., the Titan experienced an electrical failure and rapidly descended for approximately 48 seconds to 1 minute and 11 seconds before imploding.
During this critical time, the crew members would have struggled to maintain balance and may have collided with each other. The abrupt loss of propulsion would have destabilized the front section of the submersible, causing it to plunge downward like an arrow.
Martín’s report also emphasizes the significance of stability in the design of tourist passenger submarines. To ensure stability, a well-designed submersible must have a center of gravity positioned within the underwater hull.
In the case of the Titan, a sudden electrical failure may have disrupted this delicate balance, resulting in an uncontrollable descent into the ocean depths.
As the submersible descended, the pressure-resistant hull experienced a rapid increase in pressure. The uneven deformation of the hull, compared to the porthole material with different properties, created a micro-fissure. This allowed water to enter at high pressure, triggering an immediate implosion.
The findings of Martín’s analysis provide valuable insights into the series of events leading up to the tragic implosion of the Titan. The report underscores the importance of meticulous design and maintenance of submersibles, especially those used for tourism purposes, to ensure the safety of passengers and prevent such devastating incidents.
As the investigation continues, the hope is that lessons learned from this tragic event will lead to advancements in submersible technology and safety protocols, ultimately preventing similar incidents from occurring in the future.