Police in Canada announced on Saturday that they are considering a criminal investigation over the deaths of five men in the Oceangate submersible implosion.
Superintendent Kent Osmond of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in Newfoundland and Labrador said law enforcement were in the early stages of the probe.
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“Following the US Coast Guard’s announcement earlier this week that debris from the submersible was located and all five on board were presumed dead, we will now look at the circumstances that led to those deaths,” Mr Osmond said, at a press conference.
“Such an investigation will proceed only if our examination of the circumstances indicate criminal, federal or provincial laws may possibly have been broken.”
Mr Osmond said the initial team of investigators would look into whether a full investigation is warranted or not.
Superintendent Osmond said there was no suspicion of criminal activity “per se” but the team would assess if that is an option.
In addition to the RCMP’s efforts, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB), and the US Coast Guard are conducting investigations.
Other authorities could be involved in separate or joint investigations as the submersible implosion involved a number of different countries.
Canadian, French and British authorities assisted the US Coast Guard in a search and rescue mission for four days after the OceanGate Expeditions submersible, named Titan, went missing last Sunday.
Titan lost contact with its mothership, the Canadian vessel Polar Prince, around an hour and 45 minutes into its dive to the ocean floor to see the Titanic wreckage.
The vessel imploded, killing all five passengers on board, the US Coast Guard announced after days of searching.
OceanGate founder and CEO Stockton Rush; French diver Paul-Henri Nargeloet; British adventurer Hamish Harding, and Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his teenage son Suleman, were all killed.
The RCMP said they will provide an update after determining whether to launch an investigation, according to a statement. The police chief did not indicate a timeline.
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