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Former OceanGate Passengers Reveal How SCARY These Titanic Expeditions Really Were!

Former OceanGate Passengers Reveals What Titanic Expeditions Are REALLY Like

Former passengers of the OceanGate Titan are speaking out following the sub’s disastrous implosion.

As you’ve likely read by now, on Sunday the submersible went missing on an expedition down to the Titanic’s wreckage as a part of an extremely pricy tourist trip — $250,000 a pop pricy! About an hour and forty-five minutes into the trip, the home base lost all contact with the sub, leading to a harrowing 4-day search. Sadly on Thursday it was confirmed that all five occupants — Hamish Harding, Shahzada Dawood and his teenage son Suleman, Paul-Henri Nargeolet, and OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush — were lost when the sub suffered a catastrophic implosion.

Related: Who Were The 5 Souls Aboard The Titan?

There’s been lots of talk about the events leading up to the disaster, with some disturbing details coming to light about ill-preparation and ignoring safety concerns. OceanGate allegedly fired and sued an employee for trying to warn them. James Cameron says the deep-sea exploration community warned them their enterprise was unsafe.

So what was it like actually on the Titan? Just months ago these men were on the sub itself, with no clue what kind of tragedy was coming in the near future. And now they’re opening up!

Journalist David Pogue (pictured above, right) went on a ride down to the Titanic wreckage just last summer for a CBS Sunday Morning special — and according to what he told People on Wednesday, the company has always been a little suspicious in their practices:

“They use rusty construction pipes as ballast. I remember that you are sealed into the sub from the outside. There are 18 bolts around the hatch, and the crew bolts you in from the outside. And I remember it was odd that they put in only 17 of the 18 bolts. The 18th one is way up high, and they don’t bother with that one. They say it makes no difference. But little things like that.”

Whoa! We’re sorry, WHAT?! Are we to understand they don’t bother with every single bolt, the things keeping you alive, because it’s “way up high” and thus inconvenient?? If you’re going 12,500 feet down in the ocean, you can’t be slacking off like that!

But despite being nervous for the trip, David says he was quite impressed with the aesthetics of the sub:

“This submersible is very different from all the ones I had researched and looked at pictures of. Those tend to be very cramped, very homely, and filled with cockpit controls. I mean, they look like a space shuttle cockpit. This sub is modern looking. It has very cool lighting … And then there’s a touchscreen computer that the pilot uses for functions like the lights and the air and the measurements of depth and so on, and communicating with the surface. So it felt like you’re getting into a minivan without chairs.”

Yeah… cool lighting and a modern finish — all that for the price of safety?!

He went on to say the sub is comfortable and has curved walls, so it easily fits five people “as long as they alternate back, feet, back, feet.” But even with such a luxurious submersible, the trip itself is a bit tough to stomach:

“As you dive, it gets colder and colder and colder. And so they instruct you to wear layers and bring winter jackets and the ski socks because you don’t wear shoes onto the sub. It’s also probably worth mentioning that there is no real toilet on board. There is a pee bottle and a set of Ziploc bags. That’s basically it. And if you have to go, you go to one end of the sub and you draw a privacy curtain, and Stockton turns up the music loud and you go.”

He said the entire dive takes no more than “10 to 12 hours” so if the missing passengers had been stuck down there for days, they would have been terrified very early on. As it turns out, the current theory is that the implosion happened very early on in the voyage…

David was “petrified” leading up to the expedition, though:

“I was petrified in the days leading up to this. I didn’t sleep at all the night before the dive. My rational brain was satisfied that this was safe because I had had an elaborate tour of the sub and all the safety precautions and all the backup equipment. But emotionally, you can’t control your emotions. And I knew that I was getting on a prototype, experimental vehicle. It had, at that point, made over 20 successful journeys to the Titanic without any injuries of any kind. So my intellectual brain thought, well, ultimately it must be safe. But emotionally, it was another story.”

But as fate would have it, David only made it 37 feet in the water with the Titan before an issue arose and the sub had to resurface. He never actually went the entire 12,500 feet down into the water, even after all the extensive preparations he had to go through:

“It takes a long time to get ready. It is treated much like a rocket launch. There are elaborate countdowns and checklists and inspections and there are twice daily mandatory briefings about the weather and the submersible required for everybody, even those who are not diving. So I would definitely say there was a culture of safety in the operation of this submersible.”

Well, that’s something at least. Would he say they were 17/18 bolts worth of safe? That’s about 94%, pretty close…

The journalist went on to describe how the passengers were debriefed about safety procedures before the dive, and — horrifyingly — it seems there’s not much to be done if something actually does go wrong:

“We all got inside before the dive. And really, the only emergency that you can do anything about is a fire in the cabin. So he showed us where the fire extinguisher was. We tried putting on the smoke masks. Beyond that, the only thing you can do about a disaster is rise to the surface as quickly as possible.”

David also mentioned every passenger must sign a waiver before the excursion, which he says makes it “quite clear about all the ways that you could be permanently disabled, emotionally traumatized or killed.” And even more terrifying — every sub is considered a “prototype” because it’s not investigated for safety:

“The waiver says ‘This vessel has not been inspected or certified by any government body.’ So you know very well that it is a one of a kind vessel. [Stockton] said, ‘Every submersible is a prototype.’ And what he means by that is there’s only one of it. There’s not a spare. There wasn’t a 1.0 version and this is the 2.0. It is one of a kind, made of a lot of custom parts, and that’s why they’re all called experimental. They’re not iPhones produced by the millions. And that’s why this submersible, and all of the submersibles, have constant mechanical problems. Little things go wrong all the time.”

“Little things go wrong all the time” is such a chilling thing to hear after this tragedy…

Related: Missing Sub Billionaire’s Stepson Deletes Controversial Twitter Account

On Wednesday, another former passenger of the Titan named Aaron Newman (above, left) also gave his perspective on the incident. Newman actually traveled pretty deep in the submersible. While speaking with Today, he gave us an idea of what it’s like to be on the sub and heading for the ocean floor:

“You’re getting in this craft — you’re bolted in. It’s a tube that’s comfortable, but not spacious.”

He went on to say at first everything feels “very hot and stuffy” — but also noted the temperature drops FAST:

“By the time you hit the bottom, the water down there is below what standard freezing temperature is. That’s going to conduct right through that metal, so it was cold when we were at the bottom. You had to layer up — we had wool hats on and were doing everything to stay warm at that bottom.”

Andrew did mention he felt “very safe” on the Titan but he also understood the “risks” involved in such an undertaking:

“This is not a Disney ride, right? We’re going places that very few people have been, and this is inventing things.”

Before the news of the implosion broke, the former passenger said of the Titan’s occupants:

“None of these people were people that were I would consider tourists — tourists is such a bad term. These are people who lived on the edge and loved what they were doing and if anything’s going on, these are people that are calm and thinking this through and doing what they can to stay alive. So this is a good set of people.”

It’s so awful to hear this ended in tragedy, and it’s even more disturbing to understand what they were probably seeing and feeling in their last few moments. It sounds like most of them did know what they were getting into, at least — we hope. May their souls rest in peace.

[Image via CBS News/Today/OceanGate/YouTube]

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Jun 22, 2023 17:20pm PDT

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