Former OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, who was one of five passengers aboard the Titan submersible that was pronounced dead on Thursday, allegedly dismissed safety concerns repeated years before the recent expedition into the deep sea.
He Titan disappeared Sunday after communication with the vessel’s control center was lost after traveling some 13,000 feet to visit the wreckage of the RMS Titanicwhich sank in 1912. He was joined by Captain Hamish Harding, Shahzada Dawood, Suleman Dawood and Paul-Henry Nargeolet, who died in what officials called a “catastrophic implosion”.
Rob McCallum, a deep-sea expedition expert, showed the BCC an email exchange he allegedly had with Rush in which he told the chief executive that he was potentially putting his clients at risk. McCallum urged him to stop using the sub until it was classified by an independent body.
“I think he is potentially placing himself and his clients in a dangerous dynamic,” McCallum wrote in March 2018. “In his run for [the] Titanic you’re reflecting that famous cry: ‘She’s unsinkable’.”
Rush reportedly responded that he was “tired of industry players trying to use a security argument to stop innovation.”
The exchange ended, according to McCallum, when OceanGate’s lawyers threatened legal action.
Rush told CBS News correspondent Chip Reid during a 2017 interview: “By the time we’re done testing it, I think [Titan is] practically invulnerable.”
Other warnings were given to Rush and OceanGate, as well as potential passengers on future expeditions.
David Lochridge, a former OceanGate employee and submersible pilot, filed a lawsuit against the company in 2018, alleging that passengers were being subjected “to potential extreme danger in an experimental submersible” due to “OceanGate’s refusal to conduct non-critical tests.” destructive effects of the experimental hull design”.
The lawsuit was later settled out of court.
The Society for Marine Technology’s Manned Underwater Vehicles committee sent a letter to Rush that same year, warning him that his refusal to allow an outside entity to test the safety of his vessel was ignoring “a critical component in safety measures that protect to all submersible occupants”. ”, according to a copy of the letter obtained by The New York Times.
Questions remain about apparent death waivers signed by passengers. Mike Weiss, former Titan passenger and writer-producer of The Simpsonshe said he signed one himself before his own trip to the wreckage site in July 2022.
“Before I even get on the ship, there’s a long, long disclaimer that mentions death three times on page one,” Weiss told the New York Post.
This is a developing story and will be updated when more information is available.