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regular-article-logo Thursday, 29 February 2024

Fact check: No, the Titanic-bound submersible Titan was not found empty

Social media posts featuring a fake CNN report claim the Titan has been found but without passengers

Deutsche Welle Published 23.06.23, 10:25 AM
This CNN screenshot is a fake

This CNN screenshot is a fake Deutsche Welle

In a race against time, an expanding international team of ships and airplanes are searching for the submersible called the Titan that has vanished in the North Atlantic while taking five people down to visit the wreck of the Titanic. The vessel lost contact with its support ship less than two hours after it started its dive on June 18th. In the meantime, people around the world are checking news reports for updates regarding the search mission, some of them spreading misinformation.

Was the submersible really found empty?

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Claim: A Facebook post from June 21st claimed the Titan had been found but was empty. The post featured an alleged CNN news story in the screenshot which reported that the OceanGate submersible had been found.

DW Fact check: False.

In the screenshot of the news report featured on the post, the headline says, "Missing OceanGate Submarine Found Empty." The screenshot shared in the viral Facebook post and also reposted on TikTok is a fake. CNN did not share the story on either its website or any of its social media accounts. There are also no media reports to corroborate the story. And CNN spokesperson Emily Kuhn confirmed to DW that "it’s a fabricated image and not something CNN reported."

Also, the report reads "the submarine" was found but without any passengers, and names Wendy Rush, identifying her as the co-founder of OceanGate as the source. However, she herself claims she is herself director of communications and expedition team member for the company, according to her LinkedIn profile, and is the wife of Stockton Rush, CEO of the company and pilot of the expedition. And according to a report from the New York Times, Wendy Rush is a descendant of a couple who died aboard the Titanic in 1912.

If you look closely at the screenshot itself there are also a few things which are not coherent. The screenshot of the CNN news report does not match its design or font. Now it is black and not red as it was previously. Also, the image featured at the bottom of the report is inaccurate and features the Cyclops 1 Submersible, not the missing Titan submersible.

At the time of publishing, the search continues for the vessel. The US Coast Guard confirms in their latest tweet that their search is ongoing but unsuccessful so far.

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