Fact Check: These Are NOT Sounds Detected Near Titan Search Zone -- Real Audio Not Publicly Released By June 21, 2023

Fact Check

  • by: Sarah Thompson
Fact Check: These Are NOT Sounds Detected Near Titan Search Zone -- Real Audio Not Publicly Released By June 21, 2023 Sound Effects

Does this post include a recording of the sounds detected during a search for the Titan submersible? No, that's not true: This audio comes from some other source and is not an authentic recording of sounds reportedly detected by sonobuoys deployed by Canadian search and rescue aircraft. No recordings of the detected sounds had been released to the public by June 23, 2023. This was confirmed to Lead Stories by both the Media Relations Office of the Canadian Department of National Defence and Public Affairs Office of the U.S. Coast Guard's First District in Boston.

The submersible Titan lost contact with its mother ship on June 18, 2023, as it began a dive to explore the wreckage of the Titanic. On June 20, 2023, there were reports of "banging sounds" that had been picked up by sonobuoys. Several audio recordings purported to be recorded during the search for the submersible Titan began to circulate on social media. Some of the variations posted by people trolling are obviously not authentic.

One version of the fake recording is not as crass, but is fake nonetheless. An example of that recording was added to a post on Facebook on June 21, 2023, as part of a series of updates to the post. It opened:

Just watching 24/7 coverage of this missing titan submersible that was diving to the titanic 🚢 Listenedto the "knocks" and banging the military are hearing in the area. Staying hopeful the 5 men inside are still alive and can be saved before oxygen runs out tomorrow...but dang it's terrifying!

Text captioning on the audio attachment reads:

Here's the audio of The knocking they caught From the submarine

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:


(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Fri Jun 23 16:02:26 2023 UTC)

There are several cues that the recording is composed of sound effect clips. It begins with a cliché submarine sound effect -- a high-pitched sonar ping. Throughout the audio are the sounds of waves washing up on a shore. The search was far from shore, about 900 miles from Cape Cod and 400 miles from St. Johns, Newfoundland. The movement of the green bars of the audio visualiser effect do not correspond to the sounds in the audio when five close and muffled taps, like tapping on a microphone, are followed by five slow distant echoing bangs, as if hitting a submerged metal tank with wood.

This Facebook post was edited three times. One revision added the audio attachment with this edit:

Edited to add audio! 5 knocks each time. THREE p3 military planes heard the same sounds and that's where they've mobilized for now. They ALSO confirmed that they heard knocks again this morning!

At a U.S. Coast Guard press briefing on June 22, 2023, Rear Adm. John Mauger announced that a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) had discovered the tail cone of the Titan about 1,600 feet from the bow of the Titanic and that "the debris is consistent with the catastrophic loss of the pressure chamber."

Lead Stories reached out by email to the Public Affairs office of the Coast Guard to ask about this recording. On June 23, 2023, Lt. Anne McGoldrick responded:

The Unified Command has not released any audio recordings from the response. Unless released from our official Press Releases or our social media, these recordings are unconfirmed. We have not determined the source of the 'underwater sounds' referenced in earlier releases and briefings. If any confirmed recordings become available, you can find us on Twitter @USCGNortheast for the most timely updates and all of our releases containing the most up-to-date information and notices for media advisories and press briefings at the USCG Northeast newsroom.

The Media Relations Office of the Canadian Department of National Defence also responded to our query:

Canada has not released this type of content, nor does it have plans to do so.

Additional Lead Stories fact checks of claims related to the OceanGate Titan submersible can be found here.

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  Sarah Thompson

Sarah Thompson lives with her family and pets on a small farm in Indiana. She founded a Facebook page and a blog called “Exploiting the Niche” in 2017 to help others learn about manipulative tactics and avoid scams on social media. Since then she has collaborated with journalists in the USA, Canada and Australia and since December 2019 she works as a Social Media Authenticity Analyst at Lead Stories.


Read more about or contact Sarah Thompson

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