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PORTLAND, Maine – The U.S. Coast Guard on Wednesday said that “presumed human remains” were found in the debris field of the Titan submersible that imploded.

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Debris from the submersible was returned to land in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, on Wednesday, The Associated Press reported.

The submersible experienced a “catastrophic implosion” earlier this month during a trip to view the wreckage of the RMS Titanic.

At the Canadian Coast Guard pier in St. John’s, crews on Wednesday unloaded what appeared to be the Titan’s 22-foot hull, The New York Times reported. Images showed what appeared to be part of the hull’s siding and other items being unloaded from the Horizon Arctic, a vessel that searched the ocean floor in the North Atlantic for the submersible, according to the newspaper.

In a statement Wednesday, the Coast Guard said it had recovered debris and evidence from the sea floor and that included what it described as presumed human remains, the AP reported.

Titanic tourist sub: Coast Guard announces investigation after ‘catastrophic implosion’

The debris will be taken to a U.S. port, where it will be examined and analyzed by the Marine Board of Investigation, the Times reported.

U.S. medical professionals “will conduct a formal analysis of presumed human remains that have been carefully recovered within the wreckage at the site of the incident,” the Coast Guard said in its statement.

“The evidence will provide investigators from several international jurisdictions with critical insights into the cause of this tragedy,” Capt. Jason Neubauer, the Coast Guard’s chief investigator, said in a statement. “There is still a substantial amount of work to be done to understand the factors that led to the catastrophic loss of the Titan and help ensure a similar tragedy does not occur again.”

A Marine Board of Investigation, the Coast Guard’s highest level of inquiry, has begun an investigation and could recommend anything from new regulations on deep-sea diving to criminal charges for authorities to pursue, The Washington Post reported.

Wife of Titan pilot, OceanGate CEO, is great-great-granddaughter of couple who died on Titanic

Pelagic Research Services, which led the deep sea recovery effort, said in a statement that it had “successfully completed offshore operations” and was in the process of demobilization, which marks the end of a mission and a return to the base of operations. The company would not confirm that the debris belonged to the Titan, saying that the investigation was continuing, and referred questions to the U.S. Coast Guard, which did not immediately return a request for comment.

The announcement comes about a week after the Coast Guard said that an underwater robot had discovered debris on the floor of the North Atlantic Ocean near the bow of the RMS Titanic, which sank in 1912 after striking an iceberg, CBS News reported.

The Titan, a submersible owned by OceanGate Expeditions, lost contact with the ship that launched it about 75 minutes into a dive on June 18.

Officials with OceanGate identified the five onboard the Titan as Stockton Rush, the company’s CEO; Shahzada Dawood, and his son Suleman Dawood; Hamish Harding; and Paul-Henri Nargeolet.

Officials said a remotely operated vehicle searching the Atlantic Ocean sea floor found parts of the Titan that indicated that the vessel had imploded.

The Titan was about 1,600 feet from the bow of the Titanic when it appeared to have imploded.

At least 46 people successfully traveled on the OceanGate submersible to the Titanic wreck in 2021 and 2022, according to company letters filed in federal court in Norfolk, Virginia, the AP reported.

Titan was made of carbon fiber and titanium and weighed 23,000 pounds, CNN reported. It had room for five adults, according to OceanGate, the company that operated the vessel. Tourists paid $250,000 per person to view the wreckage, the cable news network reported.