As it happenedended1688778118

Titanic sub implosion: OceanGate CEO’s chilling words about Titan revealed as company shutters after disaster

Debris from the imploded Titan submersible was recovered from the ocean floor last week

Andrea Blanco
Saturday 08 July 2023 02:01 BST
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Titan submersible wreckage brought ashore after fatal implosion

OceanGate Expeditions, the company that launched the doomed Titan submersible trip to the wreckage of the Titanic, has ceased operations.

A small message in the top-left corner of OceanGate’s website reads: “OceanGate has suspended all exploration and commercial operations.”

The announcement comes a full two weeks after the submersible imploded while carrying five people, sparking an international search, rescue and recovery operation.

OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, French diver Paul-Henri Nargeolet, British billionaire Hamish Harding, Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his teenage son Suleman Dawood all died in the implosion.

The company has come under scrutiny in the weeks following the tragic accident as former employees, former passengers and experts in the industry have criticised OceanGate for embarking on a potentially dangerous trip in the questionably designed submersible.

OceanGate’s decision to cease operations comes just after the company’s former finance director claimed she quit after CEO Stockton Rush asked her to captain the Titan once he fired the craft’s original chief pilot David Lochridge.

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OceanGate employee feared CEO could ‘kill himself and others in quest to boost his ego’

A former OceanGate employee warned safety concerns with the company’s Titanic submersible could have deadly consequences in an ominous ego calling out CEO Stockton Rush’s “ego”.

David Lochridge, OceanGate’s director of marine operations from 2015 to 2018, was asked by Rush to conduct a quality inspection after safety issues with the Titan were raised. During this process, Mr Lochridge “identified numerous issues that posed serious safety concerns” but he was allegedly “met with hostility and denial of access” to necessary documents, according to a lawsuit he brought in 2018 after he was terminated.

Bombshell emails reported by The New Yorker show Mr Lochridge’s desperate attempts to expose safety issues with the Titan, five years before it imploded while on a 12,500-foot dive to the wreck of the Titanic with five passengers, including Rush, aboard last month.

“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,” Mr Lochridge wrote in an email to expedition leader and dive master Rob McCallum. “... 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,” another email by Mr Lochridge read.

Andrea Blanco5 July 2023 13:00
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Subway shop slammed for mocking Titanic sub implosion on billboard

Sandwich chain Subway has come under fire after making mocking reference to the Titan submersible disaster in its advertising.

A billboard outside one Subway restaurant in Georgia featured the slogan: “Our subs don’t implode”.

But the pun didn’t go down well with customers, with one describing the move as “distasteful” and “sad”, and another adding: “talk about poor taste”.

The Independent reports:

Subway shop slammed for mocking Titanic sub implosion on billboard

‘This kind of comment has no place in our business,’ Subway says

Andrea Blanco5 July 2023 15:22
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OceanGate suspends all expeditions

The company has announced on its website that all expeditions are suspended following the tragedy that killed its CEO and four other passengers aboard OceanGate’s Titan submersible.

Andrea Blanco5 July 2023 15:58
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Heartbreaking final photo shows smiles of father and son moments before doomed Titanic sub trip

Shahzada and Suleman Dawood smile in the final photo taken before their doomed dive on board the Titan submersible

Andrea Blanco5 July 2023 16:50
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Physicist calls for ‘pause’ on all tourist trips to Titanic wreckage

A physicist has called for an end to all the tourist voyages to the Titanic wreckage after four days of frantic search for the Titan submersible ended and experts said all five people on board died in an implosion.

Michael Guillen, a former Harvard University physics instructor who himself had a near-death experience near the Titanic wreckage, said the ocean is a “merciless beast” and the Titanic’s wreckage is a “sacred ground” where all activities should cease.

“Certainly, we need to stop, pause all trips to the Titanic, I believe, and figure out, you know, what kind of restrictions should we place,” he said in an interview with GB News.

“This is not a joyride. This is a serious business. The ocean is a merciless beast, really. It’s ready to swallow you up.”

Mr Guillen went into the depths of the Atlantic aboard a Russian scientific research vessel in 2000 when he was a correspondent with the ABC network.

Shweta Sharma 5 July 2023 17:19
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Wife and mother of Titan passengers talks about waiting to hear from the doomed sub

Christine Dawood was on board a support vessel when she got word that communications were lost with the submersible carrying her husband and son, to view the Titanic wreckage.

She didn’t initially understand what it meant that the Titan submersible had lost contact with the ship an hour and 45 minutes into its voyage, Dawood told the BBC Monday.

It would be four more days before she would learn the fate of her husband Shahzada Dawood and son Suleman Dawood, when authorities announced the vessel carrying five people had imploded and there were no survivors.

“We all thought they are just going to come up,” she said. “That shock was delayed about 10 hours or so. There was a time ... where they were supposed to be up on the surface. When that time passed, that is when the ... worry and not so good feelings started.”

Christine Dawood said she had “loads of hope” during the international search for the Titan, noting that it was the “only thing that got us through it.”

“There were so many actions on the sub that people can do in order to surface,” she said of believing they may survive. “It was like a rollercoaster, more like a wave ... We kept looking at the surface.”

Christine Dawood said she “lost hope” when they passed the 96 hour mark, sending a message to her family that she was preparing for the worst. Her 17-year-old daughter, Alina, was was still hopeful until the call with the U.S. Coast Guard about finding debris from the Titan.

Andrea Blanco5 July 2023 18:09
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Titan’s hull ‘subjected to repeated stress over time’

The 22-foot long, 23,000-pound Titan’s larger internal volume — while still cramped with a maximum of five seated people — meant it was subjected to more external pressure.

Elongating the cabin space in a submersible increases pressure loads in the midsections, which increases fatigue and delamination loads, said Jasper Graham-Jones, an associate professor of mechanical and marine engineering at the University of Plymouth in the United Kingdom.

Fatigue, he said, is like bending a wire back and forth until it breaks. Delamination, he said, is like splitting wood down the grain, which is easier than chopping across the grain.

Furthermore, the Titan’s hull had been subjected to repeated stress over the course of about two dozen previous dives, Graham-Jones said.

Each trip would put tiny cracks in the structure, he said.

“This might be small and undetectable to start but would soon become critical and produce rapid and uncontrollable growth,” he said.

Andrea Blanco5 July 2023 19:02
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OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush downplayed ‘really loud bang’ on prior Titanic sub trip

OceanGate Expeditions CEO Stockton Rush dismissed concerns about a “really loud bang” during a previous dive on the doomed Titan submersible.

Rush was filmed speaking to passengers for an episode of BBC’s The Travel Show in 2022 when he mentioned that a crew member had heard a troubling sound come from the sub while it was on the ocean surface.

He said the noise was “not a soothing sound” but downplayed the danger, adding that “almost every deep-sea sub makes a noise at some point.”

It’s unclear what caused the noise, but former OceanGate employees and industry experts have said they repeatedly raised concerns about the Titan’s construction since it imploded on a dive to the Titanic wreckage, killing Rush and four others on board.

The sub’s “experimental” carbon-fibre hull wasn’t suitable for extreme depths in deep-sea exploration, and glue had leaked from the seams of ballast bags, whistleblowers said.

Bevan Hurley 5 July 2023 20:01
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OceanGate CEO said glue holding Titanic sub together was ‘like peanut butter’

Stockton Rush, the CEO of OceanGate Expeditions whose submarine imploded during a trip to see the wreckage of the Titanic, once described the glue holding the vessel together as similar to “peanut butter.”

The Independent’s Graig Graziosi reports:

OceanGate CEO said glue holding Titanic sub together was ‘like peanut butter’

Stockton Rush said there was ‘not a lot of room for error’ if the sub’s hull failed

Andrea Blanco5 July 2023 20:38
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WATCH: Resurfaced documentary footage shows Titan spinning out of control

Resurfaced documentary footage shows Titan spinning out of control
Andrea Blanco5 July 2023 21:08

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