A friend of late OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush – who died in the Titan submersible when it imploded near the wreck of the Titanic last month – has claimed he knew the expeditions would end in disaster but continued to design a “mousetrap for billionaires”.
All five people on board were killed, including British adventurer Hamish Harding and father and son Shahzada and Suleman Dawood, alongside OceanGate Expeditions’ chief executive Rush and the submersible’s pilot, French national Paul-Henri Nargeolet.
Speaking to 60 Minutes Australia, submarine operator Karl Stanley said he had warned his friend about the dangers of the craft.
“He definitely knew it was going to end like this. He quite literally and figuratively went out with the biggest bang in human history that you could go out with,” he said.
“He was the last person to murder two billionaires at once, and have them pay for the privilege.”
Mr Stanley described his own experience of going on a test dive with his friend in the Bahamas in 2019.
“Every three to four minutes there were loud gunshot-like noises. It’s a heck of a sound to hear when you are that far under the ocean,” he said.
He raised his concerns about the vessel’s carbon fibre hull “breaking down” with his friend in a series of heated calls and emails, warning him “it will only get worse”.
“I literally painted a picture of his wrecked sub at the bottom, and even that isn’t enough,” he said.
“There is no doubt in my mind that it was the carbon fibre tube that was the mechanical part that failed.”
He added: “He was risking his life and his customers’ lives to go down in history.”
What happened to the vessel?
The stories of the ‘true explorers’ on board
The firm that owned the submersible Titan suspended its commercial operations following the implosion of the vehicle on 18 June while on a voyage to the undersea wreckage of the Titanic off the coast of Canada.
Presumed human remains were recovered from the wreckage of the submersible, along with pieces of debris from the craft.
Authorities are examining the wreckage and investigating the cause of the vessel’s collapse, which has called into question the regulations surrounding such deep-sea voyages.
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