No, this video doesn't show Titan submersible's remote control on the seabed

By: Rahul Adhikari
June 28 2023

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No, this video doesn't show Titan submersible's remote control on the seabed


The Verdict False

An altered video is being shared to falsely claim that the remote control of the Titan submersible was found on the ocean bed.

Claim ID 5586cc69


On June 18, the 6.7 meter submersible 'Titan,' which was carrying passengers on a dive to explore the wreckage of the RMS Titanic experienced a "catastrophic implosion" shortly after losing contact with its surface support ship. Some debris were found after a five-day search and all five passengers onboard died in the incident. 

According to BBC News, the Titan submersible was controlled using a modified video game controller. The pilot steered the vessel based on instructions from the surface ship.

Claims are being made that the remote control was found despite the submersible being destroyed, with a video being shared on social media claiming that it was found underwater. The viral video shows a mark or an object on the ocean bed, which, when zoomed in, appears to be a remote control. 

Several users took to Facebook and Twitter to share the footage. The caption of one such post read, "Despite the implosion, the debris, and the tragedy of the Titan submersible, we can all at least take solace in the fact that there was at least one survivor; That cheap, knockoff Xbox controller…" The viral post has gained over 25 thousand views and 113 likes.

However, the claim is false. A 2020 image of a plow track on the ocean floor was altered and falsely shared.

In Fact

A reverse image search revealed that the widely circulated visual actually originates from 2015. An image showing marks on the seabed was manipulated to create the viral video. 

According to a BBC report dated December 4, 2020, the original version of the viral image was captured in 2015 and showed marks on the ocean floor dating back to 1989. The caption of the image, credited to GEOMAR/MiningImpact Project, reads, "These deliberate marks in the seabed were 26 years old in this photo taken in 2015." The news report further states that these marks are the tentative scrapings of deep-sea mining trials left behind by ships equipped with dredges and plows. 

We compared the viral video with the BBC image and found that, apart from the remote control, both the video and the image depicted the same visuals. For instance, they both featured two small footprint-shaped marks. However, the original image did not show the remote control. 

We also located the image on page one of a project report entitled "Long-term Impacts of Deep-Sea Mining," published by JPI Oceans — a European platform working in marine and maritime research and innovation. The caption of the image states that it depicts a 26-year-old eight meter wide plow track captured in 2015.

The remote control, which was reported to have been used to operate the submersible, was spotted in a news short by BBC News. In the stock footage, OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, the pilot aboard the submersible, can be seen holding the remote. He explains how to operate the submersible using the remote and says it was made by Logitech and is a "Sony Playstation-style controller." 

According to a report by Reuters, the U.S. Coast Guard confirmed that five major fragments of the submersible were located in the debris field, including the Titan's tail cone and two sections of the pressure hull.

However, we could not locate any news reports indicating that the remote control was found among the debris. Based on this evidence, we conclude that an image from 2015 was manipulated and circulated to make false claims.

The Verdict

A photo of marks on the ocean bed has been altered and used to falsely claim that the remote control of the Titan submersible has been found intact. The viral image was actually captured in 2015 and showed marks from 1989 on the seabed. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before