The massive search for the missing submersible that was lost during a voyage to the Titanic has come to grim end as all five people on-board are reportedly dead after the vessel suffered "catastrophic implosion”.
This was confirmed by the US Coast Guard saying that parts of the Titanwere found approximately 1,600 feet from the bow of the Titanic wreck.
The debris discovered was consistent with a "catastrophic implosion", he added.
Terming it as an “incredibly unforgiving environment”, they said that they cannot confirm whether the bodies can be recovered.
"These men were true explorers who shared a distinct spirit of adventure, and a deep passion for exploring and protecting the world's oceans," OceanGate Expeditions said in a statement.
"Our hearts are with these five souls and every member of their families during this tragic time."
Earlier, the US Coast Guard had informed on Twitter that an unmanned deep-sea robot deployed from a Canadian ship discovered a "debris field" near where the century-old wreck is located, 2-1/2 miles (4 km) below the surface.
Rescue teams from several countries have spent days searching thousands of square miles of open seas with planes and ships for any sign of the 22-foot (6.7-meter) Titan, operated by US-based OceanGate Expeditions.
The submersible lost contact on June 18 (Sunday) with its support ship about an hour and 45 minutes into what should have been a two-hour descent.
The five people aboard included the British billionaire and explorer Hamish Harding, 58; Pakistani-born business magnate Shahzada Dawood, 48, and his 19-year-old son, Suleman, both British citizens; French oceanographer and Titanic expert Paul-Henri Nargeolet, 77, who had visited the wreck dozens of times; and Stockton Rush, the American founder and chief executive of OceanGate, who was piloting the submersible.
"He is where he really loved being," Nargeolet's daughter, Sidonie, said on Thursday before the discovery of the debris was announced.
The Titanic, which sank in 1912 on its maiden voyage after hitting an iceberg, killing more than 1,500 people, lies about 900 miles (1,450 km) east of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and 400 miles (640 km) south of St. John's, Newfoundland.
The expedition to the wreck, which OceanGate has been operating since 2021, cost $250,000 per person, according to OceanGate's website.