A remotely operated vehicle found a “debris field” in the days-long search for five ocean explorers missing aboard the OceanGate Titan submersible, a deep-sea vehicle that vanished Sunday in an attempt to dive to the wreck of the Titanic, the U.S. Coast Guard said Thursday morning.

“Experts within the unified command are evaluating the information,” the Coast Guard announced on Twitter.

Additional details were not immediately available, but authorities were expected to give an update soon.

The Titan lost contact with its surface vessel, the Polar Prince, around 1 hour and 45 minutes into its dive Sunday morning, about 900 miles east of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and around 400 miles southeast of St John’s, in Canada’s Newfoundland.

submersible passengers
Inset, from left: Suleman Dawood, Shahzada Dawood, Stockton Rush, Paul-Henry Nargeolet and Hamish Harding. Background: An image of the OceanGate Titan submersible. (Engro Corp. | Reuters/Shannon Stapleton | @OceanGateExped/Twitter | Felix Kunze/Blue Origin via AP | Ocean Gate/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Inside the sealed vehicle are OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush; British businessman turned adventurer Hamish Harding; father-and-son Shahzada and Suleman Dawood, who are members of one of Pakistan’s wealthiest families; and Paul-Henry Nargeolet, a former French navy officer and leading Titanic expert.

The U.S. Coast Guard headed a unified command that involved commercial assets, research vehicles and military counterparts from Canada, France and the United Kingdom.

Titan submarine
This file image provided by OceanGate shows the Titan submersible descending into the ocean. (OceanGate Expeditions)

Search-and-rescue crews spent the week deploying high-tech buoys, robotic vehicles known as ROVs, surface vessels and aerial searches in an effort to pinpoint the missing sub’s location.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, Canadian pilots picked up repeated sounds during their search.

The Victor 6000 French robot
The Victor 6000 – an unmanned French robot that can dive up to 6,000 meters – is being used in the search. It has arms that can be remotely controlled to cut cables or otherwise help release a stuck vessel. But it doesn’t have the capability of lifting the submersible on its own. (Ifremer handout via Eyepress)

Carl Hartsfield, a retired Navy captain and a scientist from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, said during a USCG briefing that the noises had been “described as banging.” 

Authorities did not elaborate and had not discovered their source on Wednesday.

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