Crenshaw: Outcome of Titan sub would be different ‘if leadership had just acted sooner’

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) criticized the U.S. Coast Guard’s emergency operations for their attempts to save a tourist submersible bound for the wreck of the Titanic, calling efforts an “epic failure of leadership.”

Debris from OceanGate's Titan submersible was found near the region of Titanic wreckage site Thursday, bringing an end to the days-long frenzy to find the craft and its crew before oxygen reserves were expected to run out.

Crenshaw claimed the Coast Guard and Navy delayed deploying deep-sea sonar-capable crafts which could have been able to find the submarine more quickly.

“Now, it’s important to note, that if you had just deployed those assets, they would have arrived on scene by Wednesday morning at the latest,” Crenshaw said in a Fox News interview Thursday.

“They finally deploy that 6K ROV, the only thing capable of actually going to that depth and seeing what’s down there, [Thursday] morning. It deploys down there, and the wreckage was exactly where they thought it would be," he added. "So, where’s the failure here? The failure is to not put all your options on the table."

Rescue ships heard noises similar to banging coming from the ocean Wednesday, but Coast Guard officials later said they did not know if they were related to the missing submarine.

The discovered debris consisted of five parts strewn about 1,600 feet from the bow of the Titanic wreck. It included the nose cap of the submarine and parts of the pressure chamber, indicating that there was a “catastrophic event,” Coast Guard Rear Admiral John Mauger said in a press conference Thursday. 

The location of the debris was consistent with the craft imploding while it was in the water column on the descent to the Titanic wreck, he said.

After debris was recovered, the Navy also announced that its under-sea listening posts heard what is believed to be an implosion of the craft shortly after it lost contact with the surface on Sunday. An implosion would have resulted in the instant death of the five people on board.

“It begs the question — could this have been resolved differently if leadership had just acted sooner and actually put options on the table instead of just assuming, ‘Well it doesn’t matter because they’re dead,’” Crenshaw said Thursday evening.