Back to Africa Check

Clip of Titan sub’s final voyage? No, vessel never reached Titanic and no video recovered

IN SHORT: Global news events tend to attract false information. Claims that a video on social media shows the Titan submersible before it imploded, are untrue.

In late June 2023, headlines across Africa and the world reported efforts to rescue five men missing in Titan, a submersible or small submarine diving far down into the North Atlantic Ocean near the east coast of Canada.

Days later, it was found that the sub had imploded, crushed by the pressure of deep ocean water. The five passengers died.

The vessel was developed by US company OceanGate Expeditions to allow high-paying customers to view the Titanic, the famous wreck of a passenger ship lying on the ocean floor some 3.8 kilometres below the surface. The ship sank in 1912 after hitting an iceberg. This is also the subject of a 1997 movie

Soon after news emerged that there would be no rescue for the sub, a video appeared on social media in Africa and elsewhere, with the claim that it showed the vessel’s final, fatal voyage.

The clip starts with a blank view of the sea out of a round porthole, the window of a ship. The camera briefly swings around to show three passengers: a man in an orange-striped jersey, a woman holding the sub’s ceiling rail, and another man.

It then returns to the porthole where it starts to show the icicle-like rusticles of a sunken ship.

The video has been posted on social media with claims such as:

  • A new clip released by #OceanGate reveals footage captured by the crew of the Titanic before the implosion' the #Titan had already reached the #wreckage.
  • #OceanGate reveals footage captured of the Titanic before the implosion! #titanicsub #titanic #submarine.
  • Last footage of Ocean Gate Titan submersible before the tragic event happened.
  • Actual footage of them in the submarine moments before it imploded.

But does the clip really show Titan’s final moments?


No way for video to reach surface

From 2021, Titan reportedly made 13 trips down to the Titanic before its final voyage. Footage of its expeditions can be seen on OceanGate’s YouTube channel.

But there are several reasons why the video couldn’t possibly be of Titan’s June 2023 dive.

The first and most obvious is the woman seen in the clip. The five killed in the implosion were all men.

The second reason is that Titan never reached the Titanic, as the view through the porthole seems to show.

Communication with the sub was lost an hour and 45 minutes into its descent. It would have taken the vessel two hours to reach the Titanic. At the time communication was lost, secret underwater US Navy microphones recorded the sound of the implosion.

Furthermore, Titan had only basic means of communication. These were “underwater acoustic positioning, as well as for short text messages to be sent back and forth to the surface vessel”, a robotics expert wrote on the Conversation.

There was no way for Titan’s passengers to send a video to the world.

Debris and “presumed human remains” from Titan were found on 29 June, a week after the clip and its claim appeared online. There is no report of any video being recovered.

An AFP investigation suggests that the video was shot near the Caribbean island of Barbados in a different submersible’s trip to the wreck of the Lord Willoughby. The cargo ship sank in the 1600s and lies just 12 metres below the sea surface.

AFP is unable to identify the origin of the clip. But it certainly wasn’t shot inside Titan during the sub’s final descent.

Republish our content for free

We believe that everyone needs the facts.

You can republish the text of this article free of charge, both online and in print. However, we ask that you pay attention to these simple guidelines. In a nutshell:

1. Do not include images, as in most cases we do not own the copyright.

2. Please do not edit the article.

3. Make sure you credit "Africa Check" in the byline and don't forget to mention that the article was originally published on

For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

Publishers guide

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Meta's third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.

The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.

You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
limit: 600 characters

Want to keep reading our fact-checks?

We will never charge you for verified, reliable information. Help us keep it that way by supporting our work.

Become a newsletter subscriber

Support independent fact-checking in Africa.