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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke June 22, 2023

Baseless claims that Titan passengers faked their own deaths start to spread online

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  • This claim is unfounded.

Four days after the Titan submersible went missing June 18 en route to the wreckage of the Titanic, the U.S. Coast Guard said that all of its five passengers were presumed dead. 

Debris from the Titan, including the submersible’s tail cone, was discovered about 1,600 feet from the Titanic, and Coast Guard Rear Adm. John Mauger said it was "consistent with a catastrophic implosion of the vessel."  

Back on land, some people are airing unfounded assumptions about the incident. 

"OK, let’s think about it: the weird-ass submarine goes to the Titanic and goes missing with a submarine full of billionaires," one person said in a video posted June 22 on Instagram. "They’re alive. They never got on that ship. There’s no shot that all those billionaires just coincidentally were on the same ship. Let’s look into their financials. Let’s look into their legal dealings. Has nobody watched a movie? This is gonna be a massive scandal — fraud. They’re escaping something, they’ve done something terrible — they’re billionaires so obviously they’ve done something terrible. And this ‘submarine’ never happened. They faked their own deaths."  

Text in the video says: "They were never on that submarine." 

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@politifact Claims that the passengers on OceanGate’s Titan submersible faked their deaths are baseless. All five passengers were presumed dead after debris was found indicating the submersible imploded. #oceangate #titan #titanic #submersible #conspiracy #factcheck #false #fyp #learnontiktok ♬ Storytelling

This claim hinges on the baseless idea that there’s a massive conspiracy to fake the deaths of five people with the cooperation of multiple countries, organizations, companies and families involved in a rescue mission that could cost millions of dollars. As of June 21, "searchers had covered an area twice the size of Connecticut in waters 2½ miles deep," The Associated Press reported

Were they billionaires? We found that two of the passengers were described as such: Hamish Harding, a British businessman, chairman of Action Aviation and an explorer; and Shahzada Dawood, a British-Pakistani businessman and vice chairman of Engro Corp. 

Also on board were Stockton Rush, founder and chief executive of OceanGate Expeditions, which operates the Titan; Paul-Henri Nargeolet, underwater research director for RMS Titanic Inc., and a French maritime expert; and Suleman Dawood, Shahzada Dawood’s son and a business student at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. We couldn’t find definitive reports on the other passengers’ net worth.

But it’s hardly surprising that multiple wealthy people were on the Titan. Passengers had to pay $250,000 each for the experience. 

We rate this post False.


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Baseless claims that Titan passengers faked their own deaths start to spread online

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