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The United States Coast Guard has confirmed that debris has been found in the search for the missing Titanic submarine – and it has now been revealed that it was the "landing frame" and "rear cover" from the missing vessel.
The search-and-rescue operation is now in its fourth day, with no clues as to where the vessel is being given so far.
However, the USCG has now confirmed that it is investigating the sighting of debris in the search area.
READ MORE: 'Debris' found within Titanic submarine search area, US Coast Guard confirms
And speaking to Sky News, search and rescue expert David Mearns confirmed that it was the "landing frame" and "rear cover" of the vessel that was found on the seabed – although this has yet to be confirmed by the USCG.
He said: "I'm in a WhatsApp group (with people connected to the search), and they've confirmed it's the landing frame and rear cover from the vessel"
"It's been relayed from the ships to the president of the explorers club who has been across this entire thing for several days.
"What has been found is the landing frame and the rear cover, but it means the hull hasn't yet been found.
"That would not be found unless it's come apart."
He went on to confirm that the this means that "something very bad, drastic, has happened to the entire structure", and also called it "catastrophic", and that the parts found are "structurally critical parts".
He added: "The whole weight of the structure is resting on the frame.
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"It's a key structural element of this configuration, and for that to be separated from the hull is not good.
Mr Mearns confirmed that "that's it so far", and that no other parts of the vessel had been found.
A search for the rest of the vessel is still ongoing.
Mr Mearns confirmed that the Horizon Arctic ship is the one that found the debris – it had only arrived on the site of the search today.
He also said that the search-and-rescue operation was focused 2.5 miles away from where the debris was found, until more advanced equipment and ships arrived today.
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British businessman Hamish Harding; Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his teenage son, Suleman; French explorer Paul-Henri Nargeolet; and Stockton Rush, the CEO of OceanGate, were on-board the vessel.
A spokesman for the US Coast Guard tweeted: "A debris field was discovered within the search area by an ROV near the Titanic. Experts within the unified command are evaluating the information."
At a press conference earlier this week, Captain Jamie Frederick from the First Coast Guard District confirmed that the search is "ongoing" and that efforts so far have "not yielded results".
He called it a "very complex search".
This is a breaking news story and is being constantly updated. Please refresh the page regularly with the latest news, pictures and videos.
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