Titanic submersible with tragic fate had ties to the University of Rhode Island

KINGSTON, R.I. (WLNE) — The OceanGate Expeditions submersible that tragically imploded on its way to see the Titanic shipwreck on Sunday had connections to the University of Rhode Island.

The Kingston campus hosted a three-day open house for the Titan in October of 2021.

Students had the opportunity to go inside the vessel after it recently made a six-week journey to document the decay of the Titanic wreckage.

Professor Bridget Buxton organized the tour with OceanGate Inc. to give the school a chance to see Titan, a submersible built to take people to depths of over 12,000 feet, where the world’s most famous shipwreck lies.

OceanGate’s Titan, a five-person submersible that can dive to depths of 4,000 meters, is towed behind a research ship. (Photo courtesy of David Concannon)

“We are proud to be working with Professor Buxton and the University of Rhode Island to share the importance of our innovative technology in supporting crucial deep sea archaeological research. The OceanGate Inc. submersible, Titan, is the first and only five-crewmember submersible to reach the Titanic,” said CEO Stockton Rush at the time.

“This summer marked the inaugural year for the Titanic Survey Expedition. The ongoing participation of experts like Professor Buxton is an integral part of this longitudinal study to document the wreck of the Titanic and its rate of decay,” Rush said.

Rush was one of the five people on board the Titan when communication was lost shortly after the Titan submerged on Sunday.

The story of the missing submersible caught global attention as a search stretched on for days.

The Coast Guard says British adventurer Hamish Harding, father and son Shahzada and Suleman Dawood, Titanic expert Paul-Henri Nargeolet, and OceanGate Expeditions CEO Stockton Rush were killed when the Titan submersible imploded on Sunday, June 18, 2023. (Provided photos)

Hours after the submersible would have ran out of breathable air on Thursday, the U.S. Coast Guard said an underwater drone found pieces of it about 1,600 feet from the Titanic site.

Officials said the Titan must have imploded, instantly killing Stockton and his passengers, British adventurer Hamish Harding, Titanic expert Paul-Henri Nargeolet, and Shahzada and Suleman Dawood, a father and son of a famous Pakistani family.

An investigation was immediately launched to find out what led up to the tragedy.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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