Owner of missing Titanic sub admitted biggest fear was getting stuck underwater
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The owner of the missing OceanGate submersible Titan, which has been lost with five people on board for several days now, once admitted that his biggest fear was getting stuck underwater.
Stockton Rush is the man behind the Titan submersible, as well as being the CEO and founder of OceanGate, and he’s one of the five that went missing in the North Atlantic just an hour and 45 minutes after leaving their mothership to head for the wreck site of the RMS Titanic.
During an interview last year, Rush spoke about how he feared getting stuck underwater on the submersible, 12,500 feet beneath the waves and unable to get out and head back to the surface.
Speaking on the Unsung Science podcast, he said: “What I worry about most are things that will stop me from being able to get to the surface.
“Overhangs, fish nets, entanglement hazards.
“And, that’s just a technique, piloting technique.
“It’s pretty clear - if it’s an overhang, don’t go under it.
“If there is a net, don’t go near it. So, you can avoid those if you are just slow and steady.”
Then, in a December 2022 interview, Rush hit out at claims that his sub was unsafe, telling CBS: “You know, at some point, safety just is a pure waste.
“I mean, if you just want to be safe, don’t get out of bed.
"At some point, you’re going to take some risk, and it really is a risk/reward question.
“I think I can do this just as safely by breaking the rules.”
Anyone who wants to get onto the Titan sub - seats on a Titanic expedition can cost $250,000 - has to sign a waiver accepting that it is an ‘experimental vessel’ that has not been ‘approved or certified by any regulatory body, and could result in physical injury, emotional trauma or death’.
They also didn’t have the Titan classed, which would have meant that an independent inspector would have to examine it for technical standards and potential faults.
Getting classification - they said - would not ‘ensure that operators adhere to proper operating procedures and decision-making processes - two areas that are much more important for mitigating risks at sea’.
A letter was also once reportedly sent Rush a letter of warning against his company’s ‘experimental approach’ that could result in problems ‘from minor to catastrophic’.
It is not known whether a response was sent to that letter, as there is also no further information about what was considered dangerous.
Court documents show that a former employee of OceanGate claimed to have raised ‘safety concerns’ regarding the vessel, but was ‘met with hostility’ before getting fired.
The filings show that David Lochridge raised ‘safety and quality control issues regarding the Titan to OceanGate executive management’.
Those worries included ‘lack of non-destructive testing performed on the hull of the Titan’ and that Lochridge ‘stressed the potential danger to passengers of the Titan as the submersible reached extreme depths’.
The US Coast Guard, leading the mission to find the lost submersible, are set to hold a press conference at 8:00pm this evening (June 22).