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James Cameron, Explorers Club respond after missing Titanic submarine found

The search for a missing tourist submersible carrying five men came to a tragic end Thursday after rescue officials discovered debris from the imploded vessel near the wreckage of the Titanic. 

Reactions poured in on social media shortly after the U.S. Coast Guard confirmed the debris field officials had found was the Titan submersible they had been searching for since Sunday. 

Rear Admiral John Mauger, the First Coast Guard District commander speaks during a press conference

Rear Admiral John Mauger, the First Coast Guard District commander speaks during a press conference updating about the search of the missing OceanGate Expeditions submersible, which is carrying five people to explore the wreck of the sunken Titanic, in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., June 22, 2023.    (REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

Richard Garriot, president of the Explorers Club, of which passenger Hamish Harding was a member, said the club was “heartbroken for the families, friends and colleagues of those who were lost.” 

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“Their memories will be a blessing and will continue to inspire us in the name of science and exploration,” Garriot wrote in a statement to Explorers Club members. 

Garriot called Hamish a “dear friend” who “continued to push dragons off maps both in person and through supporting expeditions and worthy causes.” 

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Garriot called fellow Titan passenger Paul-Henry Nargeolet, who was elected to the Club in 2021, “was one of the foremost experts on submersible expeditions to the Titanic.” 

OceanGate-Titanic-Submersible_22

This file image provided by OceanGate shows the Titan submersible being launched from a platform. (OceanGate Expeditions)

The Save Titanic Memorial Lighthouse said it was “saddened by the news” of the five men aboard the Titan. 

“Our most heartfelt condolences go out to their loved ones,” the organization said. 

Titanic director James Cameron weighed in on the tragedy, telling ABC’s ‘The View” he was “struck by the similarity of the Titanic disaster itself, where the captain was repeatedly warned about ice ahead of his ship and yet he streamed at full speed into an ice field.” 

OceanGate Expeditions, the company behind the tourist submersible, thanked all involved in search-and-rescue efforts. 

“This is a very sad time for the entire explorer community, and for each of the family members of those lost at sea,” the Washington-based company said. “We respectfully ask that the privacy of these families be respected during this most painful time.” 

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Pakistan has offered the country’s condolences to the Dawood family after the father-and-son explorers were among five killed on the submersible. 

“Our deepest condolences to the Dawood family and the family of the other passengers on the sad news about the fate of the Titanic submersible in the North Atlantic,” Pakistan’s foreign ministry tweeted Thursday. “We appreciate the multinational efforts over the last several days in search of the vessel.”

Josh Gates, a veteran explorer who previously raised concerns about the OceanGate sub before it was discovered imploded Thursday, called the catastrophe “an absolutely heartbreaking conclusion to the mission.”

“Condolences to the families of PH Nargeolet, Hamish Harding, Shahzada Dawood, Suleman Dawood, & Stockton Rush.”

The Titan was reported overdue Sunday afternoon about 435 miles south of St. John’s, Newfoundland, as it was on its way to where the iconic ocean liner sank more than a century ago. OceanGate Expeditions, which led the fateful trip, had been chronicling the Titanic’s decay and the underwater ecosystem around it via yearly voyages since 2021.

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The five men aboard the vessel were pilot Stockton Rush, the CEO of OceanGate, with British adventurer Hamish Harding, Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman, and French explorer and Titanic expert Paul-Henry Nargeolet.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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