Claim: Leaked audio picked up by search and rescue officials has been released, with banging sounds from the ill-fated Titan submersible being heard.

Fact: The leaked audio has no basis in reality. Neither the US Coast Guard nor the Canadian authorities released any audio.

On 21 June 2023, Facebook page ‘Frankie Olivo’ posted a video (archive) with the text, “Here’s the audio of The knocking they caught From the submarine,” superimposed on it, as well as a waveform, alongside the following caption:

“Here are the sounds heard every 30 minutes during the #OceansGate search.
#submarine #titanicsubmersible #Submersible #titanicsub #Titans #TitanicRescue #titanic
Credit: Chilo”

The viral audio begins with one ping echoing twice, followed by the sounds of water sloshing and waves crashing against the seashore.

The Titan story

The Titan — a submersible manufactured by OceanGate Expeditions — was reported missing (archive) on 18 June 2023 while on a tourist trip to the Titanic wreckage in the North Atlantic Ocean.

The Titan was carrying five people (archive): OceanGate CEO and founder Stockton Rush, British-Pakistani business magnate Shahzada Dawood and his son, Suleman, French submersible pilot Paul-Henri Nargeolet, and British billionaire Hamish Harding.

On 22 June, it was confirmed that all five Titan passengers had died instantly “in a ‘catastrophic implosion’”, as per The Guardian’s report (archive), which cited US Coast Guard. The update came after officials confirmed (archive) that a remotely-operated vehicle (ROV) found five pieces from the sub in a “debris field” inside the search area near the Titanic wreck.

Fact or Fiction?

Soch Fact Check did not find any authentic or reputable news reports that confirm the US Coast Guard released any audio pertaining to the efforts made to search for the missing.

The US Coast Guard, in a 21 June tweet (archive) said, “Canadian P-3 aircraft detected underwater noises in the search area”. However, while the search “yielded negative results”, the data was shared with the US Navy experts, it added (archive).

Rolling Stone, which broke the story (archive), said the sounds — made at 30-minute intervals — “were detected by sonar buoys deployed in the area ‘close to the distress position’ and that additional sonar picked up more banging four hours later”.

The development was reported citing “internal email updates sent by the Department of Homeland Security’s National Operations Center obtained by Rolling Stone”, the publication said.

Read more: Report claiming Titan submersible found empty is fabricated

A day later, Rolling Stone reported (archive) that the US Coast Guard confirmed the sounds, with Captain Jamie Frederick of the First Coast Guard District in Boston noting that the data, which was sent to the US Navy, proved “inconclusive”.

However, US Coast Guard Rear Admiral John W. Mauger was quoted by The Guardian (archive) as saying there “‘doesn’t appear to be any connection’ between the underwater noises detected in the search-and-rescue mission and the location on the seafloor”.

Reuters (archive) also reported that officials “warned that analysis of the sound was inconclusive and that the noises might not have emanated from the Titan at all”.

In no press conference did the US Coast Guard announce it was releasing the audio.

It is important to note that the Titan had gone missing far into the sea, in a remote region, away from the seashore, so the possibility of the sound of waves crashing against the seashore is zero.

The high-pitched pings are stereotypically the sonar sounds heard in submarines — possibly a sound effect in this particular clip. 

Furthermore, the green bars in the waveform do not correspond to the sounds in the audio.

Soch Fact Check also reached out to the Canadian Department of National Defence, the Media Relations office of which told us, “Canada has not released this type of content.”

In responses to emails sent by The Associated Press and Lead Stories — both of which are accredited by the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN), of which Soch Fact Check is also a signatory — US Coast Guard spokespeople said the state institution did not release “any audio in relation to the search efforts”.

Virality

The video (archive) by ‘Frankie Olivo’ has so far been viewed more than 10 million times and received over 106,000 reactions, 18,000 comments, and 30,000 shares.

It was also posted here, here, here, here, and here on Twitter.

Conclusion: The leaked audio has no basis in reality. Neither the US Coast Guard nor the Canadian authorities released any audio.


Background image in cover photo: NOAA


To submit an appeal on our fact-check, please send an email to appeals@sochfactcheck.com

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11 months ago

[…] Read more: Baseless post claims viral audio is of ‘banging’ sounds from Titan submersible […]

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