The five passengers aboard the submersible that went missing on Sunday, June 18 after embarking on a dive to the wreckage of the Titanic are believed to have died, operator OceanGate Inc said today, June 22.

“We now believe that our CEO Stockton Rush, Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman Dawood, Hamish Harding, and Paul-Henri Nargeolet, have sadly been lost,” OceanGate Inc said in a statement on Thursday.

“These men were true explorers who shared a distinct spirit of adventure, and a deep passion for exploring and protecting the world's oceans.

“Our hearts are with these five souls and every member of their families during this tragic time. We grieve the loss of life and joy they brought to everyone they knew.

“This is an extremely sad time for our dedicated employees who are exhausted and grieving deeply over this loss.

"The entire Ocean Gate family is deeply grateful for the countless men and women from multiple organizations of the international community who expedited wide-ranging resources and have worked so very hard on this mission. 

“We appreciate their commitment to finding these five explorers, and their days and nights of tireless work in support of our crew and their families.

“This is a very sad time for the entire explorer community, and for each of the family members of those lost at sea.

"We respectfully ask that the privacy of these families be respected during this most painful time.”

OceanGate's statement was issued after the US Coast Guard said earlier on Thursday: “A debris field was discovered within the search area by an ROV [remote operated vehicle] near the Titanic. 

“Experts within the unified command are evaluating the information.”

A debris field was discovered within the search area by an ROV near the Titanic. Experts within the unified command are evaluating the information. 1/2

— USCGNortheast (@USCGNortheast) June 22, 2023

During a press briefing at 3 pm EST on Thursday, after OceanGate Inc announced it believes the five passengers have died, Rear Adm. John Mauger of the US Coast Guard said that the debris was found about 1,600 feet from the bow of the Titanic on the seafloor.

"In consultation with experts from within the unified command, the debris is consistent with the catastrophic loss of the pressure chamber," Mauger said.

"Upon this determination, we immediately notified the families.

"On behalf of the United States Coast Guard, and the entire unified command, I offer my deepest condolences to the families.

"I can only imagine what this has been like for them and I hope that this discovery provides some solace during this difficult time."