All the warnings OceanGate boss ignored before Titan sub implosion

All the warnings OceanGate boss ignored before Titan sub implosion

July 8, 2023

The 18 warnings before doomed Titan mission: How experts’ fears were ignored, downplayed or refuted before death-trap sub plunged to the depths

  • Stockton Rush repeatedly ignored warnings and brushed aside safety fears 
  • The OceanGate boss died alongside four other with the Titan sub imploded  

OceanGate boss Stockton Rush, the daredevil billionaire behind the doomed Titan submersible voyage, repeatedly ignored chilling warnings his vessel was a deathtrap that ‘would kill someone’.

The self-styled ‘innovator’, who bragged about ‘breaking rules’ and idolised maverick Star Trek protagonist Captain Kirk, died alongside four others when his sub imploded on a trip to the Titanic wreck on June 18.

All five – which included three Britons, billionaire Hamish Harding, and father and son Shahzada and Suleman Dawood as well as Frenchman Paul-Henri Nargeoletwere – were killed instantly when the ‘flawed’ carbon fibre hull violently gave way under the immense pressure of the Atlantic Ocean.  

It was a tragedy that colleagues and friends of the ‘cavalier’ CEO had been warning would happen for years, with some having begged Rush not to plough ahead. 

Leaders in the field of deep-sea exploration even wrote to the father-of-two in 2018 – five years before the ill-fated voyage – warning the company’s ‘experimental’ methods could end in a ‘catastrophic’ disaster. 

But instead of heeding the warnings, Rush shrugged them off, even suggesting that to question the Titan’s safety credentials was ‘personally insulting’ to him as he branded claims he was ‘going to kill someone’ as ‘baseless’.

Hitting back, Rush went as far as saying he was ‘tired of industry players who try to use a safety argument to stop innovation’ as he appeared resentful of the ‘obscenely safe’ regulations he viewed as an obstacle to development and innovation.

Tragically, Rush’s failure to listen proved fatal. Now MailOnline reveals all the red flags and warnings brushed aside by 61-year-old, who once dreamt of becoming the first man on Mars.

For years, a number of red flags over the safety of the Titan submersible had been raised – but were ignored by OceanGate boss Stockton Rush

Stockton Rush, the CEO of OceanGate, was one of the five men who died during Titan’s ill-fated journey to the Titanic’s wreckage. His maverick approach to innovation earned him comparisons with visionaries like Elon Musk but caused concern among peers in the industry

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police will examine ‘the circumstances that led to the deaths’ of the five crew on board the sub and decide ‘whether or not a full investigation is warranted’

Experts warned sub could be a ‘catastrophic’ disaster 

Top specialists in submersible vehicles wrote a letter warning the boss of OceanGate that his firm’s approach could end in disaster five years before the fatal implosion of the Titan sub. 

READ MORE: OceanGate suspends  all exploration and business operations following death of Titanic Five in ‘catastrophic implosion’ during $250,000 mission to wreck of liner 

Worried industry leaders sent a letter to  Rush urging him to take caution, warning him that ‘the current ‘experimental’ approach’ of the company could result in problems ‘from minor to catastrophic.’

The damning verdict was sent by the Manned Underwater Vehicles committee of the Marine Technology Society (MTS), a 60-year-old trade group that aims to promote ocean technology and educate the public about it. More than three dozen experts signed it.

‘Our apprehension is that the current experimental approach adopted by OceanGate could result in negative outcomes (from minor to catastrophic) that would have serious consequences for everyone in the industry,’ read the letter.

Will Kohnen, chairman of the MTS, said he later discussed the letter with Rush and again raised his concerns.

‘There was a frank conversation. It was an adult conversation. And we agreed to disagree,’ Kohnen told Reuters in an interview regarding a call with Rush.

Kohnen said their issue was not any single design flaw, but that OceanGate chose not to pursue the industry’s recognized certification process for the submersible’s design, fabrication and testing.

The letter itself was sent after many submersible experts voiced concerns over the Titan during a three-day annual symposium, Kohnen said. He said he asked the MTS board to send the letter on behalf of the entire society, but the board declined.

The CEO of OceanGate ‘s Titan submersible (pictured) repeatedly shrugged off safety concerns over the doomed vessel, according to newly unearthed email exchanges

Titan’s carbon fibre hull and its acrylic viewport were subject to several warnings and James Cameron singled them out as ‘potential failure points’ on the vessel

The Titan imploded during its trip down to the Titanic’s wreckage, claiming the lives of five people. Pictured is a chunk of debris from the destroyed submersible being recovered 

Stockton Rush’s fury that he was ‘putting lives at risk’ 

A furious Stockton Rush lashed out in an extraordinary email exchange after being warned he was putting lives at risk every time his Titan sub ventured into the deep. 

The red flag was signalled by leading deep-sea exploration specialist Rob McCallum who urged Rush to stop using the sub until an independent body assessed it.

According to the emails, he told Rush he was ‘mirroring that famous cry’ of the Titanic’s builders: ‘She is unsinkable’.

Rush, a self-proclaimed innovator, knocked back the concerns and raged he was ‘tired of industry players who try to use a safety argument to stop innovation’.

The email exchange reportedly only ended when Oceangate’s lawyers threatened legal action.

In March 2018, McCallum wrote to Rush: ‘I think you are potentially placing yourself and your clients in a dangerous dynamic.

Rob McCullum, a world-renowned expert on deep-sea submersibles, consulted for OceanGate when the company was founded but left amid concerns about Rush’s methods

OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush (pictured) is said to have ignored warnings from leading deep sea exploration specialist Rob McCallum that he was potentially putting his clients at risk

The fitness of the Titan to go on deep sea missions was discussed in a fraught email exchange between Oceangate CEO Stockton Rush and maritime expert Rob McCallum , which only ended when Oceangate threatened legal action

‘In your race to [the] Titanic you are mirroring that famous catch cry: ‘She is unsinkable”.’

A frustrated Rush hit back, writing to Mr McCallum: ‘We have heard the baseless cries of ‘you are going to kill someone’ way too often. I take this as a serious personal insult.’

In a BBC interview, Mr McCallum described how he repeatedly urged OceanGate to seek classification for the sub before it was used commercially. 

‘Until a sub is classed, tested and proven it should not be used for commercial deep dive operations,’ he wrote in one email.

‘I implore you to take every care in your testing and sea trials and to be very, very conservative. As much as I appreciate entrepreneurship and innovation, you are potentially putting an entire industry at risk.’

Rush responded some days later: ‘I am well qualified to understand the risks and issues associated with subsea exploration in a new vehicle.’

Fatefully, Mr McCallum warned him: ‘It will be sea trials that determine whether the vehicle can handle what you intend to do with it so again; take care and keep safe.’

‘There is a lot more riding on this than Titan and the Titanic.’

Wealthy passengers are not given any special training prior to departure and do not require diving qualifications but do need ‘basic agility’ so that they can climb a 10ft ladder and be able to stand on a chair. Pictured is the OceanGate Expeditions submersible vessel named Titan

The 22ft carbon fibre and titanium submersible also did not have a GPS system and used Elon Musk’s Starlink to communicate with its mothership, MV Polar Prince because it is so far out to sea. Pictured is an OceanGate tourist submersible

Whistleblower who raised fears over safety is sacked 

OceanGate chiefs sacked a top director after he aired his concerns over the Titan sub’s safety – five years before the vessel’s fatal implosion. 

David Lochridge, who was the Titan project’s director of marine operations, was unceremoniously booted from the company after he demanded more rigorous safety checks on the sub – including ‘testing to prove its integrity’. 

He also wanted the company to carry out a scan of Titan’s hull to ‘detect potential flaws’ rather than ‘relying on acoustic monitoring’ – which would only detect an issue ‘milliseconds before an implosion’.

In a court document filed in 2018, lawyers for the company said Lochridge’s employment was terminated because he ‘could not accept’ their research and plans, including safety protocols.

OceanGate also claimed Lochridge ‘desired to be fired’ and had shared confidential information with others and wiped a company hard drive. The company said he ‘refused to accept the voracity of information’ about safety from Titan’s lead engineer.

Lochridge, a former Royal Navy marine engineer and ship’s diver, had relocated from the UK to Washington to work on the development of the Titan – which was previously called Cyclops 2. He was hailed as an ‘expert in the field of submarine operations and rescue’ by OceanGate when he joined. 

OceanGate bosses fired David Lochridge, who was Director of Marine operations for the Titan project, in 2018 after it disagreed with his demand for more rigorous safety checks on the submersible, including ‘testing to prove its integrity’

The company initially planned to use it for a trip to the Titanic in 2018 but this was abandoned after it sustained damage to its electronics from lightning. Then, in 2019, the voyage was postponed again because of a problem with complying with Canadian maritime law limitations on foreign flag vessels. Then it suffered further problems in 2020 and had to be completely rebuilt. The tourist submersible is pictured above

Legal filings obtained by showed he slated the company’s research and development process in 2018.

Lochridge also ‘strongly encouraged that OceanGate utilize a classification agency, such as the American Bureau of Shipping, to inspect and certify the Titan’.

The naval veteran ‘disagreed with OceanGate’s position to dive the submersible without any non-destructive testing to prove its integrity, and to subject passengers to potential extreme danger in an experimental submersible.’

Rush had asked Lochridge to assess the safety risks because he was the ‘best man for the job’, according to the lawsuit.

But Lochridge was ‘ignored’ when trying to raise verbal concerns over the safety and quality control of Titan.

In his report he said: ‘With Cyclops 2 (Titan) being handed off from Engineering to Operations in the coming weeks, now is the time to properly address items that may pose a safety risk to personnel.

‘Verbal communication of the key items I have addressed in my attached document have been dismissed on several occasions, so I feel now I must make this report so there is an official record in place.’

OceanGate did not comment on the Lochridge lawsuit.

Shahzada Dawood, 48, (right) one of Pakistan’s richest men, who along with his teenage son Sulaiman Dawood, 19, (left) died on the Titan

Billionaire Hamish Harding, 58,  (left) was among the five people on board The OceanGate Titan. Also killed was French mariner Paul-Henri Nargeolet, 73, who was a Titanic expert 

Rush bragged of ‘breaking rules’ building doomed sub

‘You’re remembered for the rules you break and you know, I’ve broken some rules’. This was, perhaps, one of the most prophetic comments made by Stockton Rush before he was killed on his doomed submersible. 

The businessman gave the quote while being filmed giving Mexican actor Alan Estrada a tour of his 22ft vessel in summer 2021.

In the clip, which been viewed more than seven million times, Rush beams as he shows off the Titan’s various control screens and interfaces before bragging about the vessel’s design. 

In a move that might, in hindsight, give an insight into the methodology that led to the fatal disaster, Rush tells the Mexican star about ‘picking the rules that you break’.

‘I’d like to be remembered as an innovator,’ Rush says with a wry smile. ‘I think it was General (Douglas) MacArthur who said: ‘You’re remembered for the rules you break.’ And you know, I’ve broken some rules to make this.

OceanGate boss Stockton Rush (pictured in a video filmed by Mexican actor Alan Estrada before he travelled to the Titanic on the submersible) previously spoke about ‘breaking rules’ to build the missing Titan submersible, newly emerged footage has shown

Rush (pictured) was seen in a clip telling Mexican actor Estrada about the seven-inch thick acrylic window that is mounted on the front of the Titan to give those inside a view of the famous wreckage that lies 12,500 feet below the ocean surface

‘I think I broke them with logic and good engineering behind me. The carbon fibre and titanium, there’s a rule you don’t do that – well I did,’ the CEO says.

‘There’s picking the rules that you break that are the rules that will add value to others and add value to society, and that really to me is about innovation.’

He goes on to say he doesn’t consider his work ‘invention’ but ‘innovation’.

Then, in an interview with CBS News in the summer of 2022, Rush again boasted about being a risk-taker. 

Insisting he didn’t think diving in a submersible was ‘very dangerous’ at all, he added: ‘I mean, if you just want to be safe, don’t get out of bed. Don’t get in your car. Don’t do anything. 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.’

Warnings of ominous ‘cracking’ sounds were ignored 

OceanGate Expeditions offered ‘the once in a lifetime opportunity to be a specially trained crew member safely diving to the Titanic wreckage site’

As early as 2019, alarm bells were starting to ring over the structural integrity of the doomed Titan craft. 

Karl Stanley, an American tourist and submersible expert, took a trip onboard the vessel with Rush in April of that year.

The duo dived down to 12,000ft in the Bahamas. But Mr Stanley claimed that throughout the decent, the hull made ominous cracking sounds throughout the decent. 

Creaking in underwater craft like submarines when diving at depth isn’t uncommon, nor an immediate indicator the vessel is at risk of an imminent implosion. 

Indeed, when Mr Stanley took the trip down with Rush at the helm, the OceanGate boss had warned there would be some creaking noises. 

It was only the day after the trip, when he had digested the experience, did Mr Stanley feel the noises were dangerous – which then prompted him to email to Rush and explain his fears.

He said the noise heard during their dive ‘sounded like a flaw/defect in one area being acted on by the tremendous pressures and being crushed/damaged.’

He wrote, in an email obtained by The New York Times, that the loud, cracking sound signaled there was ‘an area of the hull that is breaking down.’

And he urged Rush to take his time with the development of the sub, to ensure that it was safe.

Karl Stanley, a tourist submarine operator based in Honduras, has described taking an April 2019 trip on the Titan and being concerned by the creaking sound

Stanley spoke to CNN following the Titan tragedy and described the email he wrote to Stockton Rush

Fears Titan would be f***ed if Bluetooth controls failed

Rob McCallum, a veteran submersibles expert, voiced his concerns over the Titan’s Bluetooth controls. But they were again, seemingly, ignored by Rush. 

Mr McCallum, who started bringing tourists to the Titanic wreckage in the 2000s using Russian submarines, claimed he had been approached by OceanGate to join its team in 2015.

But after seeing how rudimentary the Titan was, he backed away before later joining other industry experts in raising their fears about OceanGate before last month’s tragedy. 

‘He wanted me to run his Titanic operation for him,’ McCallum told the New Yorker. ‘At the time, I was the only person he knew who had run commercial expedition trips to Titanic. Rush’s plan was to go a step further and build a vehicle specifically for this multi-passenger expedition.’

Mr McCallum visited OceanGate’s Seattle-area workshop to look at the company’s first craft, Cyclops I – a retrofitted research vessel that could descend no more than 1,500ft. Rush had hoped to use most of Cyclops I’s design to inspire his would-be Titanic sub, the Titan.  

Worried, given its seemingly crude design and lack of redundant safety features, Mr McCallum told the magazine that ‘there were multiple points of failure’, including that its control system used Bluetooth. 

‘Every sub in the world has hardwired controls for a reason – that if the signal drops out, you’re not f****d.’ 

Stockton Rush shows the controller used to steer the Titan – which has been compared to something from an XBox or PS5

University interns designed critical electrical systems

In what could be seen as another potential red flag, Rush reportedly employed university students to design critical electronics in the Titan. 

In an explosive report, it was claimed that students from Washington State University Everett were used to work on the submersible’s electronics. 

Mark Walsh, a former student with Washington State University’s Institute of Electrical and Electronics, who worked on the doomed vessel. He was hired by OceanGate in 2017 after he graduated to lead the company’s electrical engineering division.

In 2018, he enthusiastically told the college paper WSU Insider, that ‘the whole electrical system – that was our design, we implemented it, and it works.’

He added: ‘We are on the precipice of making history and all of our systems are going down to the Titanic. It is an awesome feeling!”

But, by 2019 Walsh was no longer with the company, according to his Linkedin profile.

OceanGate was also using interns from Everett Community College’s Ocean Research College Academy, but that partnership ceased in 2019, according to the Everett Herald.

But in 2018, OceanGate’s former director of marine operations and chief pilot David Lochridge said Titan was a ‘lemon’ and not safe to dive, according to The New Yorker.

Lochridge found ‘several critical aspects to be defective or unproven’ with the Titan. ‘Until suitable corrective actions are in place and closed out, Cyclops 2 (Titan) should not be manned during any of the upcoming trials,’ he reportedly wrote before being sacked after raising his concerns. 

The OceanGate engineering team with 3 Cougs was featured in the WSU Insider on February 21, 2018. The article was titled: A New Generation of Titanic Exploration  

OceanGate CEO and founder Stockton Rush (pictured left) sits alongside submersible pilot Randy Holt in the company’s submersible, ‘Antipodes,’ traveling three miles off the coast of Fort Lauderdale, Florida June 28, 2013

A file photo of the Titan submersible before its doomed voyage to the Titanic wreck last month

Doomed Titan sub was stuck by lightning in Bahamas 

The tragedy-bound Titan submersible was severely damaged after it was struck by lightning in 2018, the late OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush revealed in a resurfaced interview.

Rush explained his ill-fated sub suffered an indirect lightning strike in the Bahamas during a test dive in late April that year, in a hit that postponed the craft’s maiden voyage.

‘Fortunately, it was not a direct strike. A direct strike to the carbon fibre probably would have taken us totally out,’ Rush told Matt Burdyny, the Vice President of Teledyne Marine in the 2020 interview.

In a May 2018 Instagram post on OceanGate’s account the firm said: ‘Deep sea testing began in late April near Marsh Harbour in the Bahamas.

‘Upon arrival the sub’s electronics sustained lightning damage that affected over 70% of its internal systems.’

The strike led to a postponement of a Titanic Survey Expedition, with Rush commenting at the time that while the delay was disappointing his firm was ‘not willing to short cut the testing process due to a condensed timeline.’

Adding: ‘We are 100% committed to safety and want to fully test the sub and validate all operational and emergency procedures before launching any expedition.’

According to the Titan’s specifications, the submersible had the capacity to stay underwater for 96 hours  

OceanGate dismissed independent inspection plea 

OceanGate bosses had been urged to voluntarily apply for regulation and classification through an independent agency – but allegedly dismissed the plea. 

The recommendation was made by David Lochridge, a director at the firm who was sacked in 2018 after raising safety concerns about the sub.  

According to Mr Lochridge, he was given ’10 minutes to immediately clear out his desk and exit the premises’ after the meeting.

His claims were made in a countersuit against his former employer, who accused him of breach of contract, fraud, and revealing trade secrets. The case was settled out of court in November 2018.

Sub window not suitable for depth of Titanic wreckage 

Concerns about the strength rating of the Titan’s viewport were also ignored by Rush.

Again, these were raised by David Lochridge as part of his long list of safety concerns plaguing the vessel. 

He had several meetings in 2018 ‘regarding the quality control and safety of the Titan, particularly OceanGate’s refusal to conduct critical, non-destructive testing of the experimental design of the hull.’

During one meeting he discovered that the viewpoint was only built to a certified pressure of 1,300 meters – despite OceanGate intending to take passengers down to 4,000 meters.

Legal filings state: ‘Lochridge learned that the viewport manufacturer would only certify to a depth of 1,300 meters due to the experimental design of the viewport supplied by OceanGate, which was out of the Pressure Vessels for Human Occupancy (‘PVHO’) standards.

‘OceanGate refused to pay for the manufacturer to build a viewport that would meet the required depth of 4,000 meters. 

The Titan suffered a deadly implosion last month that killed five people. The submersible is pictured above

Rush bragged about viewport amid flaw concerns 

In an interview in 2021, Rush continued to brag about how he had been a rule-breaker when it came to sub design.

He explained in a YouTube video with Mexican actor Alan Estrada that Titan’s viewing window would get ‘squeezed’ by the water pressure as it descends, and that it gives a ‘warning’ if its going to ‘fail’.

Experts have said a structural failure is one of the possible issues that caused the Titan’s deadly implosion near the Titanic.

The water pressure at the wreck site of the famous ocean liner is nearly 6,000 psi (pounds per square inch) – which means a weight equivalent to around two tons is exerted on any object at that depth. 

Despite the risks of entering such an inhospitable environment, Rush appears very confident in his invention in the clip, that has emerged on TikTok.

‘It’s acrylic – plexiglass,’ Rush tells Estrada after being asked what the window mounted at the front of the Titan vessel is made of.

‘It is seven inches thick and weighs about 80lbs. And when we go to the Titanic, it will squeeze in about three-quarters of an inch and just deforms,’ he explains.

‘And acrylic is great because before it cracks or fails, it starts to crackle so you get a huge warning if it’s going to fail.’

He later described ‘breaking the rule’ of sub design, adding: ‘I think I broke them with logic and good engineering behind me. The carbon fibre and titanium, there’s a rule you don’t do that – well I did.’

Experts have previously claimed the carbon fibre and titanium design was not strong enough to withstand the immense pressures under at the bottom of the Atlantic.  

OceanGate Expeditions started its dives to the Titanic in 2021 using its submersible named Titan, which is at the centre of a desperate search after going missing 12,500ft beneath the waves. Pictured is an interior view of the vessel

Titan branded a ‘mutt’ after getting stuck at 20ft 

In perhaps an embarrassing early stumbling block, the initial sea trials of OceanGate’s Titan submersible did not go to plan. 

One such incident, testing out the Cyclops I – the forbearer of the doomed Titan – saw its crew getting stuck on board for hours as the vessel languished about 20ft under water. 

Among the crew involved in the dive was David Lochridge – a Royal Navy veteran who was later sacked after voicing safety concerns – and Rob McCallum, a submersibles expert. 

Speaking about the gaffe, Mr McCallum told The New Yorker:  ‘It was hilarious, because there were four very experienced operators in the sub, stuck at 20 or 25ft, and we had to sit there for a few hours while they worked it out.’

Describing the sub, Mr McCallum went on to say: ‘This thing is a mutt.’

Worries Titan had a ‘MacGyver jerry-rigged’ feel to it

The doomed Titan was steered with a modified plastic PlayStation controller which was just one of many ‘off-the-shelf’ items on the ship.

The £42 wireless Logitech F710 pad – complete with thumbsticks and colourful buttons – can be found in most electronic stores.

Mr Rush admitted some of interior parts were bought ‘off the shelf’, such as the LED overhead lighting, while the cameras used were standard security cameras. 

A friend of Titan victim Hamish Harding said he had signed up to join him on the ill-fated voyage – but pulled out after finding out about its ‘computer game-style controller’. Chris Brown, 61, said he cancelled over concerns that the organisers were ‘cutting too many corners’.

The submersible was steered using a modified plastic PlayStation controller (pictured) 

CBS reporter David Pogue – who went on a dive in the Titan – said some of the ballasts used to control buoyancy were old rusty construction pipes that are sitting on shelves on the side.

He said the Titan got lost for five hours during his dive last summer, adding: ‘There were certain things that looked like cut corners.’ In a broadcast in November 2022, he put it to Mr Rush that the vessel had the feel of a ‘MacGyver jerry-rigged’ invention.

Mr Rush said that ‘once you’re certain that the submarine isn’t going to collapse on everybody, everything else can fail. It doesn’t matter.’

The vessel also lacked basic emergency features, including a location beacon.

Titan computer ‘malfunctions’ days before doomed trip

That was the claim made by Youtuber Jake Koehler after his trip in the same OceanGate submersible that later imploded, killing everyone inside. 

Jake, also known as Dallmyd, took a short ride in the Titan vessel but was told he could not explore the Titanic shipwreck because of ‘malfunctions’.

The self-proclaimed ‘treasure hunter’ was set to dive 13,000ft down to the seabed of the North Atlantic but communication problems and harsh weather meant it was cancelled last minute.

He only experienced the 3,000ft test dive, and said he felt like he dodged a bullet as the harsh reality that he could have died set in.

He said: ‘It’s crazy to think if the weather cleared up and the conditions were perfect, and Stockton looked up at me and said, ”Do you wanna go?” I would’ve done it, and my fate could’ve been just like the five who had lost their lives on that same submarine.’

As he’ prepared for the trip, disturbing trials revealed that the team started noticing issues just days before five people were killed on a dive to see the Titanic.

Jake Koehler, also known as Dallmyd, revealed that he had a close call with death after his trip in the same OceanGate submersive was axed just days before it imploded

The content creator shared a haunting video of his time onboard the craft which zoomed in on the infamous video game controller used to control the 22-foot submersive

During a routine engineering dive, it was flagged that one of the two computers controlling the sub ‘was acting up a bit’.

The control problem, choppy seas and winds meant Jake’s trip was cancelled.

After a few days of bad weather, engineers felt the controls were in good enough condition to do a 3,000-foot test dive with the passengers.

The crew of passengers laughed while the cramped ship nose-dived into the ocean, but it wasn’t long before communication problems with the mother ship started.

‘If the fog didn’t roll in and cancel the dive, who knows, maybe we would’ve left that platform, and maybe we would’ve imploded,’ Jake added.

Ex-Titan passengers branded trips a ‘suicide mission’

Several former passengers have come forward to criticise the haphazard nature of the Titanic voyages.

German Arthur Loibl, 60, who went on the craft to visit the Titanic wreck two years ago, claimed he was ‘incredibly lucky’ to survive. He said the trip, which was repeatedly delayed due to battery problems, was a ‘suicide mission’.

During the descent and ascent, he said a fluorescent glow stick was used instead of the lights to save energy.

Producer Mike Reiss said communication failures happened on each of the three dives he went on last year. He described the sub as ‘a car that you drunkenly drove into the ocean’ steered by a ‘video game controller’.

Disturbingly, passengers were even asked to fill out a disclaimer in which they must knowledge that the Titan was an ‘experimental vessel’ that had ‘not been approved or certified by any regulatory body’.  

German Arthur Loibl, 60, (pictured) who went on the craft to visit the Titanic wreck two years ago, claimed he was ‘incredibly lucky’ to survive

Titan needed a rebuild after showing hull ‘failure’ signs

In 2020 the craft had to be completely rebuilt after tests showed signs of ‘cyclic fatigue’ that reduced the hull’s depth rating to 3,000 meters, which was well short of what it required to get close to the Titanic.

The vessel, built of carbon fibre and titanium was originally designed to take five people to depths of 4,000 metres (13,123 feet).

After detecting problems at how deep it could go OceanGate also announced at the time that it was working with NASA to ensure that it was strong enough to survive the ocean’s depths.

It’s thought the problems were addressed before the Titan’s fateful dive last month. 

Doomed sub lost control at the bottom of the Atlantic 

Before imploding last month, Titan had previously lost control leaving the mini sub spinning in circles at the bottom of the Atlantic – 300m from the Titanic’s wreck.

Five passengers were 300 meters from the wreck of the Titanic during a mission last year when pilot Scott Griffith said ‘we have a problem’ – words no one wants to hear at around 12,500ft below sea level. 

Footage from inside the submersible, filmed as part of a 2022 BBC documentary, shows an anguished crew listening to Griffith as he told them there was something wrong with the Titan’s thrusters.

The technical fault meant that the submersible was spinning uncontrollably around in circles and unable to move forward and backwards. One passenger was seen with her head in her hands as the passengers endured an agonizing wait for help from the crew onboard the mothership.

In the documentary, which is only available to view outside the US, a concerned Griffith told the passengers: ‘I don’t know what’s going on, I feel like… I don’t know what’s going on.

‘There’s something wrong with my thrusters. I’m thrusting and nothing is happening.’

Five passengers were 300 meters from the wreck of the Titanic during a mission last year when pilot Scott Griffith said ‘we have a problem’ – words no one wants to hear at around 12,500ft below sea level

Footage from inside the submersible, filmed as part of a 2022 BBC documentary , shows an anguished crew listening to Griffith as he told them there was something wrong with the Titan’s thrusters

Griffith, concern etched into his face, is seen working frantically on a computer before asking the crew, who were looking out of the one porthole on the sub, whether he was spinning.

When Mexican passenger Reneta Rojas responds to the affirmative, Griffith says in a panicked voice: ‘I am?’

Rojas responds: ‘Yes, it looks like you’re going north’.

Griffith appears to grimace and says ‘Oh no, we we have a problem. When we are thrusting to move forward, one of the thrusters is going backwards right now.’

Rojas can be seen heavily breathing and putting her head in her hands before Griffith says: ‘The only thing I can do right now is a 360.’

Ross Kemp backed out of Titan trip over safety fears 

TV hardman-turned-documentary filmmaker Ross Kemp turned down a trip to see the Titanic on an OceanGate submersible after his TV firm decided the vessel was ‘unsafe on every level’.

The British documentary-maker, 58, was keen to take part in the mission last year for a documentary marking the 110th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.

After an expert production company carried out checks, they decided seeing the shipwreck on the seafloor of the North Atlantic would be too risky.

Kemp’s agent, Professor Jonathan Shalit, said they pulled out of using the Titan submersible because it was unsafe ‘on every level’.

He said he was relieved Kemp didn’t board Titan and the company didn’t suggest it was safe for him to go.

Ross Kemp 58, was keen to take part in the mission for a show last year

Titanic foundation feared Rush ‘lied’ about safety 

Jessica Sanders, who heads RMS Titanic Inc, described Rush as ‘cavalier’ after he told potential passengers the Titan sub was ‘way safer than flying in a helicopter or even scuba diving,’ or even ‘crossing the street.’

The organisation is investigating if it should have let Paul-Henri Nargeolet, 77, who spearheaded the foundation, on the Titan.

Rush and Nargeolet died alongside British billionaire adventurer Hamish Harding and Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman, 19, when the Titan imploded 12,500ft below the Atlantic Ocean on the way to the historic Titanic shipwreck.

Sanders said the foundation is now probing past records for OceanGate and questioning the truth of Rush’s statements.

‘We have now our own internal questions about the representations OceanGate made that we made the basis on giving PH the OK to go,’ she said.

‘We’re going back and looking at that now ourselves internally, because there were representations not only made to us, but made to the court, that now we have to go back and verify because of these stories that are coming up that question them.’

PH Nargeolet, 71, was an expert on the Titanic’s wreckage and worked with a company which has recovered thousands of artifacts from the site

Jessica Sanders (pictured) who heads up RMS Titanic Inc, is reviewing if the organization should have let Paul-Henri Nargeolet, who spearheaded the foundation, on the vessel at all

Fears Rush would kill people in ‘quest to boost ego’ 

A former OceanGate staffer fired after airing concerns about the safety of the doomed Titan submarine emailed an associate saying he was worried the firm’s CEO would get himself and others killed in a ‘quest to boost his ego’.

David Lochridge, formerly OceanGate’s director of marine operations who worked at the company between 2015 and 2018, was sacked after raising concerns about the safety of the Titan for much of its building process.

Those warnings were allegedly delivered from the factory floor during the latter half of 2017, but were constantly dismissed as part of a push to move on from the building to begin testing.

It’s now emerged that Lochridge emailed project associate Rob McCallum – who also left OceanGate over safety concerns – shortly after he was fired in 2018, to say he was worried CEO Stockton Rush would end up dead on the submersible.

‘I don’t want to be seen as a Tattle tale but I’m so worried he kills himself and others in the quest to boost his ego,’ Lochridge wrote about Rush, The New Yorker claims.

The intrepid engineer reportedly continued: ‘I would consider myself pretty ballsy when it comes to doing things that are dangerous, but that sub is an accident waiting to happen.’

‘There’s no way on earth you could have paid me to dive the thing.’

David Lochridge, who was Director of Marine operations for the Titan project, was fired after meetings with OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, who is on board the missing submersible

Zip-ties were used to as quick fixes for sub problem

A former passenger on the Titan claimed that zip-ties were used to help fix the sub. 

Arthur Loibl described his experience on the craft as a ‘suicide mission’. The 60-year-old said he forked out about $110,000 for his trip

But speaking via the New York Post, Mr Loibl offered claimed his dive had to be delayed for five hours due to an electrical issue. 

Not only that but right before the voyage, the bracket of the stabilisation tube — which balances the sub — tore and had to be ‘reattached with zip ties,’, he said. 

Previously concerns had been raised about zip-ties being used to attach the submersible’s iridium satellite beacon, which transmits the crafts position after surfacing, to the Titan. 

Source: Read Full Article