Liability waivers signed by passengers on a submersible lost at sea during a dive to the Titanic wreck may not shield the vessel's owner from potential lawsuits by the victims' families, legal experts said.

The Titan submersible vanished on Sunday roughly two hours into its dive and was found in pieces on the ocean floor after what the U.S. Coast Guard said on Thursday was a "catastrophic implosion" of its pressure chamber.

The passengers, who paid as much as $250,000 each for the journey to 12,500 feet (3,810 meters) below the surface, are believed to have signed liability waivers. A CBS reporter who made the trip with OceanGate Expeditions in July 2022 reported that the waiver he signed mentioned the possibility of death three times on the first page alone.