OceanGate’s former finance director said she was “freaked out” when CEO Stockton Rush asked her to become the Titan subermissible’s pilot even though her “background is in accounting.”
After David Lochridge, the vessel’s previous pilot, was fired, Rush tapped the finance director to head the sub, she told The New Yorker. Without Mr Lochridge around, “I could not work for Stockton,” she said. “I did not trust him.” She resigned after finding a new job.
The ex-finance director added that several engineers were very young – in their late teens and early 20s – and were, at least at one point, being paid a mere $15 per hour.
Mr Lochridge said he was wrongfully terminated after raising “serious quality control and safety concerns,” according to a lawsuit.
The five passengers of the Titan submersible died last month due to an implosion caused by the extreme pressures of the ocean.
The pilot and ex-finance director’s comments were far from the only concerns about the vessel.
A documentary camera operator, Brian Weed, who attended a test dive with Mr Rush was also alarmed by the CEO’s “cavalier attitude” toward “basic safety.” He recited his conversation with Mr Rush when he asked about a potential emergency situation: “‘Well, there’s four or five days of oxygen on board, and I said, ‘What if they don’t find you?’ And he said, ‘Well, you’re dead anyway.’”
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