Barbados video misrepresented as footage from Titanic-bound sub

  • This article is more than one year old.
  • Published on June 30, 2023 at 17:40
  • 3 min read
A Facebook video viewed more than 1.3 million times claims to show footage captured aboard the Titanic-bound submersible before it imploded in the North Atlantic Ocean. This is false; the recording was taken inside a tourist submarine and shows a sunken ship off the coast of Barbados.

"MISSING TITANIC SUBMARINE FOOTAGE BEFORE DISAPPEARANCE!!" says the caption of a June 22, 2023 Facebook reel.

The clip shows somebody filming a shipwreck through a porthole.

Screenshot from Facebook taken June 29, 2023

The post was published the same day the US Coast Guard said the OceanGate Expeditions tourist submersible suffered a "catastrophic implosion," leaving five people dead. The announcement ended a multinational search for the missing vessel, which lost contact with its mothership less than two hours into its dive to the Titanic's wreckage.

Authorities have since said presumed human remains were recovered from pieces of the sub hauled ashore in Canada.

But the clip shared online was not filmed aboard the ill-fated vessel.

AFP matched the sunken ship seen in the footage to the Lord Willoughby, which tourists visiting Barbados can see on excursions run by Atlantis Submarines Barbados.

Stock images and other photos and videos posted to platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube show a ship with what appear to be identical features.

Screenshots from Facebook taken June 29, 2023, with elements outlined by AFP
Screenshots from TikTok taken June 29, 2023, with elements outlined by AFP



Additionally, a voice in the video circulating on social media says: " ... Named after Lord Sir Francis Willoughby, who was the actual governor of this island back in the 1650s. So this period was known as the colonial era, and this vessel here ..."

AFP could not determine the original source of the video. However, other clues also indicate the footage was not captured aboard the OceanGate submersible.

For example, the Titan had one viewport at its front, while the video shared online shows a porthole on the submarine's side.

Graphic on the Titan tourist submersible used to explore the Titanic wreck in the North Atlantic, which had a "catastrophic" implosion ( AFP / Gal ROMA, Sophie RAMIS)

The Titan's crew comprised five adults, but the clip appears to feature children's voices.

And the Titan set off to tour the Titanic's wreckage more than two miles (nearly four kilometers) beneath the ocean's surface, where sunlight does not reach. In the footage shared online, the ship is illuminated.

A brochure for the Atlantis Submarines experience (archived here) says it takes people as deep as roughly 130 feet (about 40 meters).

AFP reached out to Atlantis Submarines Barbados for comment, but no response was forthcoming.

AFP has debunked other misinformation about the Titan tragedy here, here, here, here and here.

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