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Channel 5 documentary Titanic Sub: Lost at Sea draws uneasy reactions from viewers: ‘Too soon’

Production company ITN says it was treating the story ‘with great sensitivity’

Louis Chilton
Friday 23 June 2023 06:12 BST
TV reporter who survived Titanic sub trip weeps as he relives terrifying ordeal

A Channel 5 documentary about the missing Titanic tourist submarine has drawn uneasy reactions from viewers.

The programme, titled Titanic Sub: Lost at Sea, delves into the story of the Titan submersible, which went missing during an expedition to view the undersea shipwreck of the Titanic on Sunday (18 June).

At the time, the documentary started airing (at 7pm on Thursday 22 June), rescue operations were still ongoing. Experts had warned that the vehicle, which had been operated as a tourist vessel by OceanGate Expeditions, was due to run out of oxygen at 1pm BST on Thursday afternoon – a few hours before the Channel 5 documentary aired.

Shortly before the programme began, it was reported that debris from the submersible had been found near the site of the Titanic shipwreck.

While the programme was on the air, OceanGate released a statement confirming that the five passengers were dead.

You can keep up to date with the latest developments here.

Titanic Sub: Lost at Sea is presented by former Football Focus host Dan Walker, and includes interviews with experts and testimony from people “close to those onboard”.

Viewers shared their thoughts about the programme on social media, with many suggesting that it was “too soon” to air.

“I feel a bit grim watching this channel 5 ‘documentary’ which is really just a live special,” one person wrote. “Especially after today’s news about the debris. Just a bit too soon for this.”

“Channel 5 broadcasting this Titanic programme is ghoulish,” another person wrote.

This undated image courtesy of OceanGate Expeditions, shows their Titan submersible launching from a platform (OceanGate Expeditions/AFP via Ge)

“I can’t believe Channel 5 are still going ahead with that live Titanic Submarine programme,” someone else commented. “Vile, tasteless and utterly appalling of them.”

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The programme is produced by ITN. In a statement ahead of the programme’s broadcast, Ian Rumsey, managing director of content for ITN, said: “This programme will chart everything from the exploration itself, to the rise of extreme tourism, to the rescue attempts, but above all it will tell a very human story that has captured the nation which is about five people, all with families, who are trapped at the bottom of the ocean.

“Our expertise and heritage in fast-turnaround documentaries and reputation for responsible filmmaking means we always treat such stories with great sensitivity.”

Five people were on board the submersible at the time of its disappearance: British billionaire Harding, Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman, OceanGate founder and CEO Stockton Rush, and veteran French diver Paul-Henry Nargeolet.

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