Breaking News
More () »

What Congressman Dan Crenshaw said about search for missing Oceangate sub

The Congressman alleges that there were delays in getting the necessary equipment for the rescue effort.

WASHINGTON D.C., DC — Republican Congressman Dan Crenshaw, of Texas, is criticizing the administration’s handling of the search for the Oceangate submersible calling it an “epic failure in leadership.”

Thursday afternoon, the U.S. Coast Guard announced that all aboard the submersible died when the vessel imploded near the site of the Titanic shipwreck following a five-day search.

The vessel lost contact with its mothership during a dive on Sunday and did not resurface. This resulted in an extensive search and rescue operation in the area.

The Congressman, whose district covers parts of Harris and Montgomery counties, alleged that there were delays in getting the necessary equipment for the rescue effort.

“What appears to be the case is epic failure in leadership,” Crenshaw said. “Where exactly that leadership failure is, not sure. Is it the White House, the Coast Guard, the Navy, I’m not sure.”

The Congressman, who grew up in Katy, Texas, served as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy and as a member of SEAL Team 3 during the war in Afghanistan prior to being elected to office. He was wounded in action and lost his right eye to an improvised explosive device, IED.

"People should be fired over this, the very least. This is clear incompetence. If they won’t do it, maybe Congress should do something,” Crenshaw said.

Rea Adm. John Mauger said Thursday that the investigation into what happened is already underway and will continue around the area near the Titanic where the debris was found.

“I know there are also a lot of questions about how, why and when did this happen. Those are questions we will collect as much information as we can about now,” Mauger said.

Those killed were Stockton Rush, the CEO of OceanGate Expeditions, the company that owned and operated the submersible; two members of a prominent Pakistani family, Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman Dawood; British adventurer Hamish Harding; and Titanic expert Paul-Henri Nargeolet.

AP reporting on what's known about the sub and the search

The sliver of hope that remained for finding the five men alive was wiped away early Thursday, when the submersible’s 96-hour supply of oxygen was expected to run out and the Coast Guard announced that debris had been found roughly 1,600 feet (488 meters) from the Titanic in North Atlantic waters.

“This was a catastrophic implosion of the vessel,” said Rear Adm. John Mauger, of the First Coast Guard District.

After the submersible was reported missing Sunday, the U.S. Navy went back and analyzed its acoustic data and found an anomaly that was consistent with an implosion or explosion in the general vicinity of where the TITAN submersible was operating when communications were lost,” a senior Navy official told The Associated Press on Thursday.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive acoustic detection system.

The Navy passed on the information to the Coast Guard, which continued its search.

OceanGate Expeditions, the company that owned and operated the submersible, said in a statement that all five people in the vessel, including CEO and pilot Stockton Rush, “have sadly been lost.”

This photo combo shows from left, Shahzada Dawood, Suleman Dawood, Paul-Henry Nargeolet, Stockton Rush, and Hamish Harding.

The others on board were two members of a prominent Pakistani family, Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman Dawood; British adventurer Hamish Harding; and Titanic expert Paul-Henri Nargeolet.

“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 said in a statement. “We grieve the loss of life and joy they brought to everyone they knew.”

OceanGate has been chronicling the Titanic’s decay and the underwater ecosystem around it via yearly voyages since 2021. The company has not responded to additional questions about the Titan's voyage this week.

The company's office was “closed indefinitely while the staff copes with the tragic loss of their team member,” according to a statement Thursday by the Port of Everett, which is about 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of downtown Seattle and is home to OceanGate.

The Coast Guard will continue searching for more signs about what happened to the Titan.

While the Navy likely detected the implosion Sunday through its acoustics system, underwater sounds heard Tuesday and Wednesday — which initially gave hope for a possible rescue — were probably unrelated to the submersible. The Navy's possible clue was not known publicly until Thursday, when The Wall Street Journal first reported it.

This photo provided by OceanGate Expeditions shows a submersible vessel named Titan used to visit the wreckage site of the Titanic. In a race against

With a search area covering thousands of miles — twice the size of Connecticut and in waters 2 1/2 miles (4 kilometers) deep — rescuers all week rushed ships, planes and other equipment to the site of the disappearance.

Broadcasters around the world started newscasts at the critical hour Thursday with news of the submersible. The Saudi-owned satellite channel Al Arabiya showed a clock on air counting down to their estimate of when the air could potentially run out.

The White House thanked the U.S. Coast Guard, along with Canadian, British and French partners who helped in the search and rescue efforts.

“Our hearts go out to the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives on the Titan. They have been through a harrowing ordeal over the past few days, and we are keeping them in our thoughts and prayers," it said in a statement.

The Titan launched at 6 a.m. Sunday and was reported overdue that afternoon about 435 miles (700 kilometers) south of St. John’s, Newfoundland. By Thursday, when the oxygen supply was expected to run out, there was little hope of finding the crew alive.

In 2021 and 2022, at least 46 people successfully traveled on OceanGate’s submersible to the Titanic site, according to letters the company filed with a U.S. District Court in Norfolk, Virginia, that oversees matters involving the shipwreck. But questions about the submersible’s safety were raised by former passengers.

One of the company’s first customers likened a dive he made to the site two years ago to a suicide mission.

“Imagine a metal tube a few meters long with a sheet of metal for a floor. You can’t stand. You can’t kneel. Everyone is sitting close to or on top of each other,” said Arthur Loibl, a retired businessman and adventurer from Germany. “You can’t be claustrophobic.”

During the 2 1/2-hour descent and ascent, the lights were turned off to conserve energy, he said, with the only illumination coming from a fluorescent glow stick.

The dive was repeatedly delayed to fix a problem with the battery and the balancing weights. In total, the voyage took 10 1/2 hours.

Nicolai Roterman, a deep-sea ecologist and lecturer in marine biology at the University of Portsmouth, England, said the disappearance of the Titan highlights the dangers and unknowns of deep-sea tourism.

“Even the most reliable technology can fail, and therefore accidents will happen,” Roterman said. “With the growth in deep-sea tourism, we must expect more incidents like this.”

Where did the Titanic Sink?

Most of the Titanic wreck is approximately 350 nautical miles off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada, according to NOAA.

How many feet down is the Titanic?

The Titanic wreckage is located at a depth of 12,500 feet (3.8 kilometers) in the North Atlantic waters on the ocean floor.

How long did it take to find the Titanic initially?

73 years after the Titanic sank, marine explorer Robert Ballard found the wreckage on Sept. 1, 1985. Nearly 20 years later, Ballard returned in 2004 to help the NOAA study the ship's rapid deterioration.  

KHOU 11 on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

Before You Leave, Check This Out