KENT, Connecticut (WABC) -- The five people aboard the missing Titanic submersible are believed dead after a grim update on Thursday. Among the victims is a 77-year-old man who was a longtime resident of Connecticut.
The update gave official confirmation of what had become increasingly likely: a grim end to the massive search for the missing submersible Titan.
"The debris is consistent with the catastrophic loss of the pressure chamber," said Rear Adm. John Mauger, of the First Coast Guard District.
A remote-operated rover found the vessel broken apart in five major pieces, evidence that a "catastrophic implosion" killed all five people on board.
"Upon this determination we immediately notified the families," Mauger said.
A tweet from the U.S. Coast Guard before noon revealed a debris field had been located. By then, the hour projected for when the vessel's oxygen supply would run out had already passed. Officials say a second debris field was discovered later.
"There's no Titanic wreckage in that area and again, 200-plus meters from the bow and consistent with the location of last communication for an implosion in the water column," said Carl Hartsfield of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.
Among the victims on board was Paul Henri Nargeolet, known as 'PH' and nicknamed 'Mr. Titanic.'
The 77-year-old was a longtime resident of Kent, Connecticut before moving to Dutchess County in New York.
He was a former commander in the French Navy and one of the first to explore the Titanic wreckage, making 35 dives to the site.
Exploring the Titanic was his passion and those nearly three dozen dives meant he did it more than anyone else ever has.
Bruce Adams, a former first selectman in Kent, reflected on Nargeolet.
"PH was just a wonderful human being, I'm thinking how does a man who has been down to the Titanic more than anyone on the face of this earth, and that record will likely never be broken, how did he end up in this little town of 2,500 people, I don't know," Adams said.
The Coast Guard said it's too early to know how and when they will attempt to retrieve the craft and the victims from the ocean floor.
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