Monday Jul 15, 2024
Monday Jul 15, 2024

Photos do not show remains of the submersible

2023 Jun 24, 18:40,
This 2004 photo provided by the Institute for Exploration, Center for Archaeological Oceanography/University of Rhode Island/NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration, shows the remains of a coat and boots in the mud on the sea bed near the Titanic's stern. (via AP)

THE CLAIM: Photographs show the remains of OceanGate’s Titan submersible after U.S. authorities reported the deaths of all five people on board.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The U.S. Coast Guard confirmed to The Associated Press that there are so far no public images of the wreckage. Two of the photographs being shared were actually taken in 2004 and show the remains of the Titanic itself; the other photograph was first shared on a Twitter account that identifies as a parody and spreads images created by artificial intelligence.

THE FACTS: The submersible carrying five people toward the Titanic imploded near the wreck site, killing all five people on board, the Coast Guard said on Thursday.

Any remaining hope of finding the five men alive had been dashed hours earlier, when the ship’s oxygen was expected to run out and debris had been found approximately 1,600 feet (488 meters) from the Titanic in the waters of the North Atlantic.

After the announcement, social media users erroneously claimed, both in English and in Spanish, that a series of photographs showed the remains of the submersible.

“Images of the remains found of the #Titan submarine of the Ocean Gate company,” reads one of the Facebook posts written in Spanish, which included two photos showing human objects covered in sand and another photo with remains of the vessel.

“OceanGate was found but unfortunately, no one survived,” wrote another Facebook user in English in a post that also included the photos. “The underwater robot found the debris of the titan on the ocean floor. It’s been discovered that there was a catastrophic implosion when they tried to surface.”

But the Coast Guard said the search team, which also includes the U.S. Navy, the Canadian Coast Guard and OceanGate, has not released any photos or videos of the debris.

“Unless released from our official press releases or our social media, these photos are unconfirmed,” the armed service branch wrote in an email.

In a reverse image search, the AP found that two of the images, which appear to show shoes and kitchen utensils, were taken in 2004 near the Titanic and do not match the Titan’s wreckage.

“This 2004 photo provided by the Institute for Exploration, Archaeological Oceanography Center/University of Rhode Island/NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration shows the remains of a coat and boots in the mud on the seafloor near the stern of the Titanic,” says the description of the image, which is available in the AP’s archives.

The third photo, showing a boat in the sand, was uploaded from the Twitter account @prince_of_fake, which identifies as a parody and often shares AI-generated images.

The Titan left Sunday afternoon and was reported late that afternoon about 435 miles (700 kilometers) south of St John’s, Newfoundland, on its expedition to the site where the Titanic sank more than a century ago, the AP has reported.

At least 46 people successfully traveled on the OceanGate submersible to the wreck of the Titanic in 2021 and 2022, according to company letters filed in federal court in Norfolk, Virginia, which oversees matters related to the sinking of the liner.



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