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One World with Zain Asher
Debris Field Found Near Titanic Submersible Search Area. Aired 12-1p ET
Aired June 22, 2023 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ZAIN ASHER, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Zain Asher in New York and this is "ONE WORLD". I want to start with some pretty significant breaking news that
we've just gotten here into CNN. The U.S. Coast Guard is announcing, they just announced this moments ago, that a debris field, a debris field has
been discovered near the Titanic in the submersible search area.
We don't know much, but at this point, it is just that a debris field has been discovered. That is what they're saying at this point in time. They're
saying that it was discovered by a remote operated vehicle, okay, an ROV, and that they are evaluating the information. That's all we have at this
point in time. But of course with every hour, the situation is growing more dire for the five people on board lost in the cold, dark waters of the
The amount of air is -- the amount of breathable air, rather, the amount of oxygen is dwindling in this tiny sub. There was an estimated 96 hours worth
of oxygen on Sunday when the vessel descended to explore the wreckage of the Titanic that was on Sunday.
A massive amount of resources including ROVs, Remotely Operated Vehicles, are already at or being rushed to the search area right now. And the U.S.
Navy plans to send a deep water winch system that could bring up the sub if, if and when it is found. Meantime friends and loved ones of those on
board are hoping and praying at this point for a miracle.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PER WIMMER, FRIEND OF TITAN CREW MEMBERS: I still have hope. I remain optimistic, positive and hoping for a miracle here, at least until it's
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: Paula Newton picks up the story.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES FREDERICK, CAPTAIN, U.S. COAST GUARD: When you're in the middle of a search and rescue case, you always have hope.
PAULA NEWTON, CNN ANCHOR, CORRESPONDENT: While hope is running out against a dwindling oxygen supply --
WIMMER: Very confident that these banging noises come from the submersible.
NEWTON: It also rests on the indistinct banging noise detected by sonar.
UNKNOWN: The noises were heard by a Canadian P-3.
NEWTON: The U.S. Coast Guard has disclosed that noises were picked up by sonar Tuesday and Wednesday during the search following the deployment of a
sonar buoy by a Canadian aircraft.
FREDERICK: I can't tell you what the noises are. All I can tell you is, I think this is the most important point, we're searching where the noises
are and that's all we can do at this point.
NEWTON: Acoustic information sent to the U.S. Navy has so far been inconclusive.
SEAN LEET, CO-FOUNDER AND CHAIRMAN, HORIZON MARITIME SERVICES: We are very aware of the time sensitivity around this mission.
NEWTON: The search area has expanded to twice the size of Connecticut and up to two and a half miles deep with more ships and aircraft arriving today
to join the around the clock aerial and below the surface search.
DAVID GALLO, OCEANOGRAPHER: We need to go full speed regardless of what that time is and find that submarine.
NEWTON: The sub was enroute to explore the Titanic wreckage on Sunday but lost communication about one hour and forty-five minutes into its descent.
Five passengers were on board including Ocean Gate Founder and CEO Stockton Rush who is now facing criticism for the engineering of the sub.
STOCKTON RUSH, OCEAN GATE FOUNDER AND CEO: You know I've broken some rules to make this. I think I've broken them with logic and good engineering
behind me. The carbon fiber and titanium, there's a rule you don't do that. Well, I did.
NEWTON: Two former employees separately raised safety concerns about the thickness and integrity of the submersible's hull. One employee was fired,
he sued for wrongful termination, the other resigned. The lawsuit was settled out of court and Ocean Gate says it conducted further testing on
ASHER: Underwater rescues may be extremely difficult, but they do happen. As Tom Foreman reminds us, there is still hope even at this late stage for
a deep sea rescue to actually be successful. Take a look.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Racing time, the elements and an ocean of unknowns. Those trying to find the Titan face dwindling odds of
success. Underwater rescues are inherently complicated, dangerous, and the deep sea makes it all harder. Author Steven McGinty knows.
STEPHEN MCGINTY, AUTHOR, "THE DIVE": It's hard to even imagine that. And, you know, two miles of water above you, the immense darkness, no natural
light and the weight of that crushing weight. So, you're operating the immense darkness, no natural light, the weight of that crushing weight -
So, you're operating in pitch darkness at a depth that many things will fail.
FOREMAN: His book, "The Dive", is about the deepest ocean rescue to date. In the early 1970s, the Pisces III sank nearly 1600 feet below the surface
while laying an undersea phone cable off the coast of Ireland. For three days, ships, submarines, and robotic vessels struggled to get lines
attached and haul up the submersible with its two experienced sailors. Final success.
UNKNOWN: Was there a stage at all when you began to wonder whether you would ever get up safely?
ROGER MALINSON, RESCUED SUBMARINER: Not at all, no. We had about a day's supply left for life support, and we knew what was going on. We could talk
to the surface all the time. So, there was no trouble at all.
FOREMAN: Not exactly. Like the Titan, the Pisces had limited air, just enough for 72 hours. The two men extended it by lying still and not
talking. And when they finally emerged after 84 hours, they had enough for only 12 minutes more.
So, how different is the Titan's predicament? The Pisces was located quickly 120 miles offshore. The Titan is still missing more than 400 miles
from land. The Pisces had steady communications. No one has spoken with the Titan since it vanished. The Titan is in much deeper water. And yet, even
when the Pisces was pulled up, the men inside were terribly battered.
MCGINTY: They thought they were going to be smashed unconscious inside the sub. So, the sub was just rattling and rolling and spinning. And at one
point they begged for them, for the lift to stop.
FOREMAN: There have been other undersea rescue attempts. In 1939, when the USS Squalus sank off the East Coast in less than 250 feet of water, 26 men
drowned, 33 were saved. In 2000, when the Russian Sub Kursk suffered a pair of onboard explosions in the Barents Sea, despite early hopes for
survivors, the entire crew of 118 perished.
FOREMAN (on-camera): But there are so few of these examples, and they are so widely different, each time an incident like this comes along, rescuers
must simultaneously look at the history and rewrite the book. Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.
ASHER: And just a quick recap of our breaking news this hour. The U.S. Coast Guard is tweeting that just moments ago, a debris field has been
found -- a debris field has been found near the Titanic search area. Of course, they're looking for this missing submersible. They've been looking
for it for five days.
Apparently, an ROV, remote operated vehicle, discovered this debris field just moments ago. As I understand it, the U.S. Coast Guard is going to be
holding a press conference on this discovery in about three hours or so from now.
All right. We the people, the leaders of the world's two largest democracies, referred to that key phrase in their country's constitutions
as they met at the White House today. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi got a rousing welcome on his first state visit. A relationship President
Joe Biden describes as one of the most defining ones of the 21st century. They'll speak to reporters later this hour, a rare event for Mr. Modi, and
later he'll address a joint meeting of Congress.
Washington sees New Delhi as a pivotal counterbalance to Beijing. It's a big diplomatic win for a man that was once denied a U.S. visa. CNN's Kevin
Liptak joins us live now from the White House with more on this landmark visit. It is certainly historical, this visit, especially given that
President Biden has only had three state visits under his watch.
Obviously, this is the third one, however, this visit is not without controversy, Kevin, especially given some of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's
record when it comes to human rights abuses and also discrimination, for example, and cracking down on journalists and free speech. Just walk us
through what President Biden has to gain from this particular state visit.
KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yeah, well, I certainly think President Biden, in his view, as he has tried to rationalize this visit, he
has taken into account India's size. It is the world's -- now, the world's most populous country. It's the world's most populous democracy.
And he sort of determines that no major issue that he is confronting, whether it's China, whether it's climate change, whether it's Russia, can
really be successful if he doesn't have India's buy-in in some capacity and that is sort of how he determined that this elevated a form of American
democracy was required for this visit with Narendra Modi.
And it is a complicated relationship, but it is a crucial one. And certainly, President Biden is receiving some blowback, including from some
Democrats in his own party, because of the human rights concerns that you mentioned.
And President Biden is someone who has made this contrast between autocracies and democracies, really the centerpiece of his entire foreign
policy. Now, he did mention that somewhat obliquely when he was welcoming Narendra Modi on the South Lawn earlier today. Listen to a little bit of
what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: And as democracies, we can better tap into the full talent of all of our people and attract investments as true and
trusted partners as leading nations, with our greatest export being the power of our example. Equity under the law, freedom of expression,
religious pluralism, and diversity of our people. These core principles have endured and evolved even as they have faced challenges throughout each
of our nation's histories and will fuel our strength, depth, and future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LIPTAK: Now, of all the things that these two leaders are going to be talking about in the Oval Office, I think China is the one that's looming
largest. President Biden's policy towards that region really does focus on cultivating these other countries in the region, and India is certainly a
linchpin. It shares a lengthy border with China, and President Biden certainly wants to ensure that Prime Minister Modi is sort of in alignment
on that area, as well.
The issue of Russia, of course, will come up. India has continued to buy Russian oil despite sanctions due to the war in Ukraine. And this is
something that President Biden really does want to convince him to sort of take a side in that conflict. They are expected to announce a number of
agreements, including in aerospace, telecommunications.
The U.S. is going to announce some efforts to bolster India's semiconductor industry. But it really is this issue of human rights that is looming so
large over this visit. Of course, President Biden isn't the first U.S. president to try and cultivate Prime Minister Modi. President Trump, his
predecessor, actually brought him down to Houston to host this enormous rally called Howdy Modi.
So, it's not necessarily at that level, but it is certainly a very red carpet, heavy visit, a lot of pomp, a lot of pageantry, and President Biden
will certainly want to discuss all of these issues. We will see them in about 45 minutes when they take questions from the press. That in itself is
a rarity, Zain.
Prime Minister Modi doesn't regularly hold press conferences. He doesn't regularly do international interviews. This is something of a debate
between the U.S. side and the Indian side, but they did eventually come to an agreement where they would take questions. So, that will be a very
interesting event in the coming hour.
ASHER: All right, Kevin Liptak, live for us there. Thank you. As we mentioned, both leaders are scheduled to talk to reporters later this hour.
And as Kevin was just pointing out there, this is something that Indian officials actually, initially resisted since Modi does not hold news
conferences back home. But we will bring you that news conference as and when it happens.
Former U.S. President Barack Obama says that sometimes you have to engage with autocratic leaders even when you have deep differences. CNN's
Christiane Amanpour sat down with the former president for an exclusive interview. The two met in Athens, the birthplace of democracy, and they
discussed a number of issues, including the upcoming U.S. elections, the war in Ukraine, and diplomacy. Here's a preview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: If the President meets with Prime Minister Modi, then the protection of the Muslim minority in a majority
Hindu India, that's something worth mentioning. And by the way, if I had a conversation with Prime Minister Modi, who I know well, part of my argument
would be that, if you do not protect the rights of ethnic minorities in India, then there is a strong possibility of India at some point starts
pulling apart. And we've seen what happens when you start getting those kinds of large internal conflicts.
So, that would be contrary to the interests not just of Muslim India, but also Hindu India. So, I think it's important to be able to talk about these
things honestly. You're never going to have a -- things are never going to be as clean as you'd like because the world is complicated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: Don't miss Christiane's full interview with the Former U.S. President Barack Obama. That's airing Thursday, 10 o'clock, if you're
watching from New York, 10 o'clock at night, that is, and again, Friday at 6PM if you're watching from London.
Turning now to Russia's war on Ukraine and a region that's symbolically and strategically important for both sides and one that is coming under
increasing attack. Moscow is blaming Kyiv for a strike on a bridge known as the Gate to Crimea. The Chonhar Bridge serves as a link between the
peninsula and the Russian-occupied part of the Kherson region, and it plays a vital role in supplying the Kremlin's frontline troops in the south.
Meantime, Russia's president says that Moscow has seen a lull in Ukrainian fighting, but Vladimir Putin also concedes that Kyiv's counteroffensive
still has potential.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Indeed, it looks like the Ukraine's Western allies decided to fight Russia until the last
Ukrainian. However, we must assume that the enemy's offensive potential has not been exhausted yet. A number of strategic reserves have not been
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: Ben Wideman joins us live now from Zaporizhzhia. So, just in terms of this bridge coming under attack, Ben, walk us through just how important
this bridge is, strategically, given that it's known as the gate to Crimea.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: But this is one of the main arteries between Crimea and Ukraine. Well, and -- it's all Crimea.
Crimea is, of course, technically part of Ukraine, as well. But it's the main arteries between Crimea and the rest of Ukraine. And this one is
particularly important because it heads east, east towards where we are, the Zaporizhzhia region, which is the main focus of this current offensive
that's going on just south of here.
Now, what's also significant, and it does appear that, at least according to what the officials in Russian-occupied Ukraine say, is that this was,
they were using a storm shadow missile, a cruise missile. This is a cruise missile jointly manufactured by Britain and France that has a range of more
than 250 kilometers. And this is clearly going to complicate the war effort launched by Putin back in February of 2022.
Now, as far as the Ukrainian counteroffensive goes, yes, the President of Ukraine has said that progress is slower than was expected, but analysts
will tell you that as far as this counter-offensive goes, it's only just the beginning.
WEDEMAN: An unknown Russian soldier lost his life here on a dirt road in the small village of Neskuchny. He was killed in Ukraine's
counteroffensive, which has, at best so far, put a small dent in Russian lines, hardly the turning point so many had hoped for.
This is one of the villages that was liberated by the Ukrainians. This one on the 10th of June. And, clearly, the Russians were in a hurry. They left
behind this blood-soaked stretcher. It's still too dangerous for civilians to return to these once tranquil farming communities, and there isn't much
left for them to return to.
The mortar crew of the 35th Ukrainian Marine Brigade has moved into a house recently vacated by Russian troops. This afternoon, they're busy piling up
newly arrived American-made shells. Far better than the old Soviet ammunition, says Andriy.
Amazing. They're just great, he says. They hit the bullseye. My favorite. Throughout the day shelling echoes around them, the Russians may have left
the village, yet they're still nearby. Yuri's mortar training in Britain didn't prepare him for the front. This is only his third day in the line of
There are moments when I want to hide, he says, but I have to stay put and wait. Unit commander Olexandr takes coordinates from headquarters. His men
make the adjustments and prepare the rounds. They're firing these rounds at Russian lines, which are four kilometers or two miles away. It's going to
be a long, hot summer.
ASHER: Ben Wedeman reporting there. I'm going to hand you over to my colleague, Dana Bash, for more on the search for the missing submersible.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: These very sophisticated sonar gears. Well, keep in mind, this is an area that they
have gone over many times and mapped many times, so, they know what debris is down there. They know what other missions have left behind. They know
what the Titanic looks like down there. So, they must have seen something that was different. This really kicked off.
We had started to hear, among, even people here, know Ocean Gate have gone down. We started to hear that something was possibly found. Then the Coast
Guard tweeting a short time ago a debris field was discovered within the search area by an ROV or Remote Operated Vehicle near the Titanic. Experts
within the Unified Command tweeting a short time ago, a debris field was discovered within the search area by an ROV or remote operated vehicle near
Experts within the Unified Command are evaluating the information. And then they say they're gonna give more information at the next press briefing. It
is -- it's not being received as good news. One of the concerns among people who know this craft, this submersible and Ocean Gate, you know, they
do say that there was a beacon exterior to the craft itself that should have been pinging its location.
The fact that it wasn't, isn't very good news for people who know this. The other way that they could communicate was from the craft itself. But all of
that relies on energy and on power coming from the craft. There was no redundant system, essentially to send out messages and get that information
from the craft through that very deep water to the surface.
So, there's great concern with this latest news. It doesn't feel good at the moment, given what they were hoping to find down there, but I think
everybody now going to be looking to the U.S. Coast Guard to figure out what it is they're seeing down there. I don't think they would say they had
found a debris field if it were something that they knew -- that was possibly something that was down there from a previous mission or from the
They do have a pretty good picture of this. They have a lot of sonar gear out there, side sonar and other types of sonar that can get a picture of
the sea floor there. So, they must have found something. And most people here are interpreting it as not very good news, unfortunately, but, you
know, search and rescuers, at this point at least, saying it is still a search and rescue. Dana.
DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: Okay, Miguel, stand by for us. And I want to welcome our viewers -- our international viewers from around the world now
as we watch and try to learn what is happening with this very much international story, it's very much of an international story, has
international implications for just in short term because of who is on board.
Stephen McGinty is the author of "The Dive", the untold story of the world's deepest submarine rescue. So, let's just pick up where Miguel left
off talking about what the Coast Guard has said and trying to read the tea leaves on their statement.
STEPHEN MCGINTY, AUTHOR, "THE DIVE": I think that anyone hearing the news that the Coast Guard has put out that the remote operating vehicle has
found a debris field. The natural conclusion would be that the Titan, that the submarine has got to a certain depth and suffered some kind of
catastrophic depressurization, which has led to the submarine effectively collapsing like a tin can.
And I mean, that would be the deepest fear effectively and which would mean that it will soon be moving to a recovery phase of the process because no
one could survive that. I mean, that's one option. To be optimistic about it is potentially to read that it's a debris field related to something
else, as one of your other contributors said, and that the submarine is intact at some other location.
And what they're -- then it could still potentially be a recovery, but clearly we're at a time where the oxygen window, so to speak, has already
closed and it would be then dependent on them finding some way to extend the oxygen in the vessel. But even then, if they would have to find them,
they would have to secure them, then it would have to winch them two miles to the surface. So, I think the fact now is looking exceptionally bleak.
BASH: So, the term debris field in the Coast Guard's tweet, that to you is a big statement, a big term.
MCGINTY: Well, yeah, the conclusion from hearing that would be that the submarine has collapsed and has been destroyed. I mean, that's what you
would expect someone to take from that. Clearly, they could come back later on and say, we meant A, B or C, but that would be, that's what you would
take from that is that the submarine has been turned into debris. T
That's a potential, you know, that's what they found. Something that would indicate that that's not obviously not confirmed then. But if we're just --
if you're just asking what we would take from that information, it's clearly not good.
BASH: What are the most important questions that you want answers on from the Coast Guard when they brief at 3 o'clock Eastern?
MCGINLEY: I think people would want to know is when they say debris field -- has there -- have the -- has the remote operated vehicle which they
would have been watching the cameras and filming the way they did 50 years ago in the rescue Pisces III, they had live footage coming up to the
surface. What have they seen that connects the debris to the submarine that's missing? That would be the first question I would ask.
And secondly, you know, are they continuing to look elsewhere? That would be the key part is that -- what have they seen that connects, that
separates the debris -- the existing debris that's down there from other trips and from the Titanic. To put that statement out, you would have to
indicate that there's some connection to the submarine and it would be what is the -- have they found a piece of the submarine that they're aware of
and they found pieces of it? That would be the key question.
ASHER: Because it sounds like you're saying it's not uncommon to find debris in the middle of the ocean, particularly near the site of the
MCGINTY: Yeah, absolutely. There's obviously going to be parts of the ship. Now, they would know that, too. So, I suppose the question is why --
I mean, one way you could argue this is, why would they put out a tweet that doesn't qualify itself? I know Twitter has got longer, but they could
put out some kind of qualifying statement if they're going to put out those kind of images. I mean, are they clearly, they're preparing people for, I
would argue that the potential reading of this is that they are preparing people for the worst. And I think that's the only way to read it.
BASH: Stephen, stand by. I wanna go back to Coast Guard headquarters. That's where our correspondent Jason Carroll is. Jason, what are you, there
you go Jason, what are you learning at this hour?
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, a few things. Again, you heard so many of the questions that were raised there by the last guest
that you were speaking to. These are some of the many questions that we are going to have for the rear admiral when he begins the press briefing which
is scheduled to get underway here at the o'clock.
Again, the U.S. Coast Guard's reading out that a debris field has been found near the Titanic. They are analyzing the debris, but there are so
many indicators here that this is something significant simply because first and foremost we've got the rear admiral who's going to be speaking
about this, whereas in the past, when we were out here for briefings, it was one of the captains here who was conducting the briefings before that.
Again, the U.S. Coast Guard saying that an ROV, one of the remotely operated vehicles, came across the debris field. These ROVs, which, Dana,
we've been speaking about for the past few days, are equipped with cameras, equipped with robotic arms, and when you think about the Titanic, you think
about those who have been down there before.
I mean, this is a deep area of the ocean, some two miles or so down beneath the surface, some 13,000 feet below the surface. It's a dark, desolate
area, but it's an area that has been mapped, that has been clearly sort of indicated in the past, people who have been down there, there have not been
that many. They know what's down there. They know what they're looking at.
And so, logically thinking, if a Coast Guard is going to put out a tweet like that, one would have to think that they know what they're looking for
when they get down there. But once again, we have no confirmation of exactly what this debris field is, but it is significant that the Coast
Guard put that out and put it out in the way that they did and in the manner that they did.
BASH: It's such an important point, Jason, of all of the parts of the ocean floor that have been explored, that have been mapped, and it's -- I
just learned and looking at the research here, it's only 20 percent of the ocean floor, which is rather small. But this is maybe one of the most, if
not the most, highly trafficked areas because of the Titanic. So, Coast Guard officials, others who are experts in and around this site are very
familiar with what was there before the Titan went down.
CARROLL: Right, and that's correct. And remember, when the Titan went down four days ago, 96 hours ago, from the surface, even if you account for
currents and movements and things like that, because we know it's a vast area, a desolate area of the ocean, they are searching in a finite area of
the ocean, if you will. Even though we've been talking about search planes that have been out there looking from the skies, these ROVs looking below
the surface, they are searching in a finite area.
And so once again, logically thinking, you know, when you put out a tweet saying we found a debris field, we are analyzing it, knowing also, Dana,
that the families of all of these five people on board are listening and are paying close attention. The Coast Guard made it very clear when we were
out here yesterday that they are in close contact with the families. And so, one would have to think if you're putting out a tweet like that,
knowing that families and family members are going to be seeing it, watching it, that also plays into this, as well.
BASH: It sure does and it sure should. Thank you for that Jason. I want to bring back Maximilian Cremer, Director of the Ocean Technology Group at the
University of Hawaii Marine Center. As you're listening to our reporters in the various areas getting information and to other experts, what is your
mindset at this time?
Well, as a submersible pilot myself, I've been diving subs for almost 20 years. This is very concerning. But in my opinion, until some type of
confirmation is obtained, all rescue efforts must go ahead at full speed. You know, it may still turn out that, sorry, false alarm. And I don't want
-- I wouldn't want anybody else that's participating in the rescue effort to let go of their current activities.
BASH: Which our correspondent there, Paula Newton says, is happening. There is still search and rescue happening as they analyze the debris that
the Coast Guard found. I was just looking and you know these statistics very well. The deepest ever underwater rescue was that of Roger Chapman and
Roger Mallison. They were rescued from Pisces III submersible which was only 1575 feet down, and that was all the way back in 1973. We're talking
50 years ago, and they were trapped for 76 hours.
MAXIMILIAN CREMER, DIRECTOR, OCEAN TECHNOLOGY GROUP, UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII MARINE CENTER: Yes, that's correct. They were trapped for 76 hours and
they were recovered with about 20 minutes of breathable air left on -- it's the book that came from it, the initial book, "No Time on Our Side", was a
required reading in our group of submariners for everybody.
BASH: And being a pilot of these submersibles, knowing what you have -- know and what you have heard so far about this particular expedition, what
is your sense and maybe this is too speculative but just kind of go with me here, what is your sense knowing also about the vessel of what may have
CREMER: Well, then we were now 96 hours into this. If this were the first day in the afternoon, four, five, eight, maybe even 12 hours after the
initial contact was lost, one would still certainly have alternative explanations, but after 96 hours with no sign. Obviously, the noises that
were heard, they're still there. They're unexplained so far, but I think it's getting very tight, I'm sorry to say.
BASH: Yeah, and just again, to remind our viewers, it lost contact with the Polar Prince. That was the support ship that transported the vessel to
the site one hour and 45 minutes into its descent. How long are these expeditions usually? How long are they supposed to last? I know they have
96 hours worth of oxygen, but that's certainly not the length of the expedition.
CREMER: Well, in our case, in our operation, an average dive would be seven to nine hours. We certainly didn't go as deep as these vessels go.
Our maximum operational depth was 6500 feet or 2000 meters. Took us about an hour and a half to get down there and then spend, you know, four or five
hours on the bottom, come back up.
BASH: All right, we're going to ask you to stand by as well as we get more information, wait to hear more details from the Coast Guard. And I want to
go back to Paula Newton. And Paula, you just heard Maximilian talking about his hope that the search and rescue mission is continuing. And I just want
to be clear that as far as you've been told, the answer is still yes.
NEWTON: Absolutely, and Canadian officials have been very clear about that from the start and coordination with the U.S. Coast Guard. I can tell you
right now at this hour, Canadian aircrafts remain in the air. They continue to put those sonar buoys in the water. They are, as I was saying earlier,
there with even a ship that has all the medical expertise on board in case they can bring those passengers up alive.
Having said that, what was crucial and what we learned this morning had happened was getting that remote operated vehicle to the seabed, right? And
that was going to give them their eyes on to what may have gone on here. And again, you should remember that when the Polar Prince arrived at that
side of the Titanic wreck, the submersible, pardon me, the Titan, goes down in what they call a water column, right?
And so, that's why that would have been one of the first places that they put that remote vehicle. And they were very encouraged that they were able
to get that remote-controlled vehicle down to that seabed in that four-day window, right, so that they could actually see if the submersible was
Again, Dana, we can't assume, right? They say it's a debris field. They say they are studying it, but right now, until someone officially calls off
this search, if they do that, the search continues and that includes being ready to accept survivors and give them the medical care right there in the
North Atlantic should they need it.
BASH: And when it comes to the people on board, just a reminder, we're talking about five individuals, including the CEO of Ocean Gate and Founder
Stockton Rush. Yesterday, Paula, the Coast Guard widened its search and re- routed some of its equipment to try to pinpoint banging sounds that were heard. Any updates on that? Anything that you're hearing from your sources
what they now think that might have been.
BASH: They don't know what that might have been and they're again not going to assume. And again, you've had experts on saying that could be
anything. Having said that, it didn't seem to them as if these were natural noises from the ocean. What was very interesting was that yesterday we
heard from the Canadian officials telling us that the John Cabot, a Canadian ship that had what they call a side scanning radar capabilities,
mapping capabilities, would be on location and they started to actually try and coordinate with the noises that they heard with the mapping and trying
to determine and geolocate exactly where they came and determine what they were.
Could they be explained some other way or could possibly these noises be coming, you know, quite deliberately from the Titan and they were in the
middle of that. As far as we understand, Dana, they're still doing that. But John Cabot is still out there, still working on this at this very
minute. And they really tried to pre-position and then deploy every resource that they possibly could, given what the U.S. Coast Guard said
were challenging circumstances and a remote area.
I do want to add, no matter what they found down there right now, the weather cooperated, Dana. I've been out in the North Atlantic. It can
change on a dime. It didn't. It went from kind of okay with some fog in the early hours to much better weather. And that has certainly helped for them
to get all of this data back even from that remote operated vehicle. Yeah. Mother Nature is cooperating in that sense for sure. Paula, thank you so
CNN's Gabe Cohen is still with us. And Gabe, I just also want to remind our viewers, we are waiting for a press conference from the Coast Guard 3 p.m.
Eastern, and it is going to be with Rear Admiral John Mauger, who is the First Coast Guard District Commander. Gabe, you spoke to the Co-Founder of
Ocean Gate before the Coast Guard announced that they found the debris field. What did he tell you?
GABE COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, so Dana, I spoke with Guillermo Sohnlein. He is one of the founders of Ocean Gate, along with Stockton
Rush, who, of course is one of the five people missing in this vessel. I spoke to him this morning. He had put out a statement, and we spoke over
the phone for a little while. And he was still holding out hope.
He said that he believed the window of time that the crew had on board this vessel was actually longer than the amount of time that had been widely
reported. He thought there was still time for a rescue. And he also really defended Stockton Rush.
I talked about some of the safety concerns that have been brought up in recent years. And he said that was one of the reasons that he wanted to
speak, that he felt some of that was overblown, that Stockton was extremely focused on safety and said, in fact, he said, the first deep dive that was
done in the Titan Stockton did alone, Stockton Rush did alone because he didn't want to put anyone else at risk, even though Guillermo Sohnlein told
me he was willing to go on that trip.
He truly believed in how safe this vessel was. He never did one of these Titanic expeditions himself, but he told me that was really a scheduling
thing. He was hoping to do one in the next couple of years, but, you know, again, everyone, I think, is still holding out hope here, but he really did
believe in the safety of this vessel. But again, Dana, you know, I brought up those safety concerns a little earlier, that two former Ocean Gate
employees had really raised serious concerns about how safe the structure of this vessel was.
One believed that the hole may be too thin, that it had arrived. It was only five inches thick, not seven inches thick, as they had been assured by
the company. It would be another, in a counter lawsuit, said that the whole had not gone through non-destructive testing. So, there were those concerns
in place that perhaps the structure couldn't handle that type of pressure. But as we've discussed, we don't know what this debris field is. We don't
know if that was the issue. But as we understand, the results of this 2018 letter that was penned raising concerns written. We don't know if that was
But as we understand, there was also this 2018 letter that was penned raising concerns written by the head of a submersible organization that had
said that it was not safe, that Ocean Gate wasn't getting this vessel certified by independent industry specialists as is the industry standard,
that they didn't have to do it to go on one of these dives, as they describe it as sort of the Wild West out there in the international waters.
But that's every other submersible that was making these types of dives was getting that certification. Now, of course, Guillermo Sohnlein, who I spoke
with, said, look, this -- and others have said this, as well, that this was a different kind of vessel, that this was not your everyday submarine. And
some believe that it needed that certification. There are others who think perhaps it didn't. For Ocean Gate, they defended their decision not to get
it certified. They said that it would potentially -- did you have a question?
BASH: Gabe, you know, yeah, I know, I'm sorry. As you're talking, I just, as we're waiting for the Coast Guard, can you, maybe you don't know the
answer to this, or maybe you do since you've been covering this so closely, how many times did the Titan make this kind of expedition or journey
successfully prior to this one?
COHEN: I do not know an exact number. But more than once. More than once. Yeah. More than once, absolutely, over the last couple years. And there had
also been plenty of times where trips were delayed because of weather issues, because of structure -- issues with the vessel, potentially. We
know that it had been damaged in the past.
We know that on expeditions it had gotten lost in the past, that they had lost communication. But it had done these expeditions several times safely,
Dana. And, you know, some of the people who have been passengers on the vessel in the past who have made this expedition talked about it, saying
they knew the risk going in, they all signed waivers in advance that said this is an experimental vessel.
I brought up, excuse me, that 2018 letter that was so critical, and they used the word experimental. They say, you know, this experimental approach
could be dangerous. Those people who signed waivers, they knew. They read on that piece of paper, this is an experimental vessel.
BASH: Yeah, yeah, those waivers were something. Stand by, I'm going to go back to Miguel Marquez. Miguel, what are you learning?
MARQUEZ: As with everybody else, we are on in a holding pattern waiting for more information from U.S. Coast Guard. We have reached out to
everybody we've talked to here. I can tell you the folks that I've been talking to in St. John's here, people who have been on the Titan who have
done that dive. You know, you were talking to Gabe there about how many times it had been down.
It had gone down multiple times, a dozen if not more. And that was one of the concerns with the safety of it. It could do it once maybe, but could it
do it over and over and over again? And that was a big concern with that particular craft. Still waiting to hear back from some others, so I might
have to jump off and take a call here in a second. But the U.S. Coast Guard putting out this information that a debris field was found near the Titanic
wreck site raised a lot of concerns, and people that I've been speaking to here did not interpret that news as good news.
One, just the term debris field, and what they are hearing is not particularly promising, is still a search and rescue, as far as we know. I
think we're going to find out a lot more at 3PM Eastern. But that area around the Titanic, the Titanic itself and the area around it has been
scanned and mapped very, very finely.
When these expeditions go down, they do sometimes leave gear down there, ballast and other things that is on the sea floor, but even that would
probably have been scanned, you know, in the last year or two. So, they know pretty what's down there. They know the trajectory that the Titan was
on when it went down. They know basically where it might have gone down. They do have ROVs now down to depth there, so they can get much closer in.
And they've been doing this side sonar scanning, which is basically sophisticated scanning that gives you a very good picture of what's on the
bottom of the ocean there and on the seabed. So, all these things together and just the reception that we have heard here on the ground, it points to
a very sort of bleak picture of what's happening or what has happened to the Titan, but we are waiting for absolute confirmation.
Look, if they survive this, it would be a miracle no matter what, whether they found them on day one or on day six. The oxygen, we have made, talked
about the oxygen a lot and how much they have. There are two experienced people on that submarine. Their first instinct would have been preservation
of oxygen and scrubbing the CO2 from that sub.
So, it is possible that they go beyond the 96-hour mark if they were calm and if they were able to conserve as much oxygen as possible. So, there is,
until we know otherwise, there is still some hope. But I think this news today, everybody is going to be watching it very, very closely.
BASH: All right, Miguel, we're going to let you go, look at your phone. If and when you get a call or a text, you come right back and let us know what
you're hearing. I want to go now to Stephen McGinley, who is still with us. He is the author of The Dive, the untold story of the world's deepest
submarine rescue. So, Stephen, they knew the general area that this, where this submersible was. Explain the depth of the ocean and how that impacts
MCGINLEY: Well, the rescue that I wrote about in "Pieces III" was a depth of 1700 feet. So, that's the equivalent of the Empire State Building plus
10 stories. And at the time, 73, that was the deepest rescue that had ever been pulled up. As we know, they are at the depth of the Titanic, which is
13,000 -- 14,000 feet. So, two miles at some point or two and a half miles, which is almost an unfathomable distance from the surface. And you know,
people are talking about it can take two and a half, three hours to get to the bottom effectively. And when you're down there in an adversary -- and
BASH: Yeah, no, and the fact that the ship that was supporting them, the Polar Prince, lost contact at an hour and 45 minutes into its descent, and
it should take about two hours to get to the bottom of the ocean where the Titanic wreckage was. As somebody who knows about what it takes to rescue
somebody or some vessel at the bottom of the ocean, what does that bit of information tell you?
MCGINLEY: Well, it obviously tells you that something has gone drastically wrong. I mean, the first the fact that they lost track of the lost
communication, you would hope that there was some kind of malfunction and that they were still -- the submarine was still operational to some degree.
But the fact that we're now hearing about the debris field indicates that did they reach that depth?
And know, you know, an hour and a half down, so potentially eight, nine thousand feet. You know, was there that the fear would be that there was a
catastrophic depressurization and that the submarine, the vessel would have effectively collapsed and then they would have been killed instantly. And
obviously, that's what we don't yet, that's not been confirmed, but that would be, that has to be one of the hypothesis that people are working to.
BASH: You heard Paula Newton, I believe, talk about that the weather has actually been pretty good during this search and rescue mission. How does
that play into this in addition to the incredibly freezing temperatures where this submersible was?
MCGINLEY: Well, I mean, if they, if, you know, God willing, they still find them, and if they can't find the vessel is intact, the submarine is
intact, the fact that the weather is good would be incredibly beneficial because when they did perform the rescue back in `73, the weather was
stormy. And when they actually started lifting them from the seabed, the ship that the winch was attached to was going up and down by maybe 20 --30
So, they were being smashed about inside the submarine. So, if, the fact that it is good weather on the surface means that if God willing, there is
still a potential rescue operation, then that can only be in their favor. And the fact that it's at the moment, miles down has no difference to them,
you know, in terms of the weather, the climate atmosphere in which the, there's no difference, but the weather only makes a difference for the
rescue operation and good stable still weather is obviously what you wish.
BASH: Right, obviously when you're that far down, the weather above water doesn't really matter that much. It is about the search and rescue system.
The rescue that you wrote about from 50 years ago, right? The one that you wrote about, the Pisces III? Seventy-six hours. That is a long time. And
that was a miracle. And what we're looking for now is even more of a miracle.
MCGINLEY: Undoubtedly. Because the thing that we know from the rescue of Pisces III was it was roughly about 40 hours before the rescue could even
begin. So, what you had was a very similar position. In fact, one of your correspondents mentioned the John Cabot vessel, and that was a vessel, if
it's the same one that was involved, or may have carried the name on, that was involved in the actual rescue back in `73. So, what you had then was
vessels from, was involved, or may have carried the name on, that was involved in the actual rescue back in `73.
So, what you had then was vessels from America. You had the submarine, the remote operating vehicle from San Diego. You had one of the submarines from
Canada. You had one of the submarines from the UK. And the fact was that when they initially began the rescue, they thought they could do it in two
hours. And they thought once they located the vessel, the Pisces III, they could get it to the surface in two hours.
And yet it took them about 14 or 16 hours to even find the vessel, the certain Pisces III. And then there was numerous attempts to get the proper
ropes on board and they only just managed to get them to the surface after a number of failed attempts and with minutes to spare. So, they were, Roger
Mallinson and Roger Chapman were incredibly lucky.
BASH: Yeah, they sure were. Standby please. I want to go back to our correspondent Jason Carroll at Coast Guard headquarters. Jason?
CARROLL: Well, Dana, we are awaiting the press conference, which should be getting underway at about 3 o'clock. And until we wait, there are certain
things that we just have to say. First and foremost, this is still at this point, still a search and rescue operation. Those ROVs, the remotely
operated vehicles that we've been talking so much about, continuing to go into the water even as we speak.
So, still a search and rescue operation. But since this tweet went out by the Coast Guard, the tweet indicating that a debris was found near the
Titanic, that debris is being evaluated and that the Rear Admiral John Mauger is going to be out here to talk about that specific debris that
raises clearly a number of questions about the fate of those who are on board. And we're talking about five people who are on board, Stockton Rush,
the CEO of course of Ocean Gate.
In addition to that, British-Pakistani Businessman Shahzada Dawood, his 19- year-old son Suleman also on board the Titan. Paul-Henri Nargeolet, the French national, and Hamish Harding, the British billionaire. Five lives,
five people on board the Titan, their families, of course, watching for everything that's going on. We've been told all along that the Coast Guard
has been keeping close contact with the families as they've been going through all this.
The Titan went into the water 96 hours ago, four days ago, and this was the day, quite frankly, that the air was literally running out for them. So,
one has to wonder with so much going on with this new tweet going out, we are just sitting here waiting to see what the Coast Guard is going to be
telling us when that briefing gets underway at 3 o'clock. Dana.
BASH: Okay, Jason, thank you so much. I want to bring in Mike Welham, Marine Operations Specialist, to give us some perspective. Can you talk
about the ROV -- multiple ROVs, I believe, that are going down to try to figure out what is going on there and how it connects to the debris field
that was found?
MIKE WELHAM, MARINE OPERATIONS SPECIALIST AND AUTHOR: Okay, the ROVs are purpose-built to go to those depths. They are very large, they're quite
powerful with their motors, and they will be equipped with lights, cameras, and manipulators, and the manipulators can be controlled by a surface
operator connected to the surface vessel with an umbilical.
And so, they will go down, they will reach the seabed, and once they've reached the seabed, they will then do -- they've got to locate exactly
where they are and identify where they are. So, once that is done, they will then begin a search pattern. Now, the lights, it's pitch black down
there, so the lights are going out in front of it, and the camera will be recording everything that happens in front of them. And the pilot of the
vehicle who is on the ship, he will manage it and fly it in agreed pattern, an agreed pattern where they can search and look for anything
untoward on the seabed.
They've obviously gone along and they have, when they're close to the Titanic from what we understand, they will lock on to finding this
particular debris. Initially, they will get video of it. And the main thing there is to determine, is it new debris or is it part of the Titanic
itself? If they identify that it's new debris, is it new debris or is it part of the Titanic itself?
If they identify that it's new debris, then, they then have to determine whether it is the mini-sub or debris that has turned up there from
BASH: Which is what they're doing right now.
WELHAM: They can do this by video. Sorry.
Bash: Which is what they're doing right now, that the Coast Guard announced that they're doing, they're trying to determine what that debris
actually is. I want to ask you, there's a Canadian Navy ship carrying a medical team specializing in dive medicine and hyperbolic recompression
chambers. That has arrived on the scene. Can you put that in plain English? What exactly does that mean?
WELHAM: Well, it's what it says really, it's a diving vessel. It's got medical people on board who are versed in diving medicine. It will have
recompression chambers on there. And these are used for divers, conventional divers that will go down. They would be of no value in those
personally in this particular operation.
The depth is beyond anything that a human being could even exist in. That depth, if you're exposed to the water, you'll just be squashed. The
pressures are immense. And even if you can get them to the surface, unless there has been a leak on board the submarine, which would have affected
them anyway, once they come out, the atmospheric pressure so they won't have been under any sort of pressure.
So, they won't need a recompression chamber. But if they bring recover, say for example, they found the mini sub had recovered it and they had to get
it near the surface, they might have divers on board a ship and they put them down to attach a cable to the sub because it's in.
BASH: Mike, I'm sorry to interrupt. Mike, I'm sorry to interrupt you. I just want to go back to our correspondent. Miguel Marquez. Miguel.
MARQUEZ: Yeah, we -- everything we know here on the ground is that this information that a debris field has been discovered near the Titanic wreck
site has been met with, you know, it's not great news for those people who are familiar with Ocean Gate, who have been down in the sub for people who
have been following this very closely. The wording of that dashed a lot of hope that they would find them alive.
But right now, what we understand is that the -- those remote operated vehicles, there was one that went down early this morning. A second one
should be down in that area now. It's not clear if they're going to trade out and the first one that was down needs to come back up to recharge and
the second one they would tend to take over.
But if they have found that debris field, it certainly indicates that they wouldn't put that out unless they knew it was a new debris field separate
from the Titanic itself or separate from other expeditions that have been down there and dropped ballast or other gear that may be down there.
It is an area that is researched quite a bit and looked at quite a bit. And so, people know that in this industry, it's a very small, very tight-knit
group of people who are in this world, and they know what's down there. And this news right now is not being received well.
BASH: Yeah, listen, Miguel, you're being appropriately cautious but clearly communicating what you're hearing from the people around you who
you've been talking to for the last several days and we appreciate that.
I want to bring back Maximilian Cremer, Director of the Ocean Technology Group at the University of Hawaii Marine Center. What's your response
quickly to what you just heard from Miguel?
CREMER: Oh yeah, that totally makes sense to me. There's really not much to add. He's obviously a very competent expert on the matter.
BASH: And when you look at this, it is still remarkable. You probably can't see it, but just looking at how small this vessel is to people, which
is most people who are not familiar with this kind of expedition. with the science behind all of it and what is needed. And just a reminder, it is, I
believe, only 21 feet long, and it goes so much further down.
I mean, to the bottom of the floor than a submarine, probably the kind of vessel that most of us are most familiar with.
CREMER: Yeah, so it's for our, in our context of the Hawaii Amnesty Research Lab and our deep submergence community in Hawaii, This is actually
fairly large in terms of the space that people had in there. All of the submersibles were the pressure vessels.