In the wake of the tragic disappearance of the Titanic submersible carrying five passengers, including British billionaire explorer Hamish Harding, new information has emerged revealing that concerns about the vessel were raised before it embarked on its fateful journey.
Josh, a prominent explorer and host of Discovery Channel’s ‘Expedition Unknown,’ spoke candidly about his experience with the submarine, named Titan, and why he decided to back off from a project that involved the submersible.
In 2021, Josh visited OceanGate’s headquarters in Everett, Washington to explore the possibility of featuring Titan in a television special. OceanGate was about to take its first group of passengers down to the Titanic. During the visit, Josh joined Stockton Rush, the CEO of OceanGate, for a shakedown dive on the Titan in Puget Sound.
The Titan stood out for its unique design and carbon fiber hull, as opposed to the traditional steel or titanium. This made it significantly larger and capable of holding five people, which is more than most submersibles used for Titanic expeditions.
However, Josh expressed concerns regarding the submersible’s safety and risk assessment. He noted that the Titan was one of a kind with no comparable vessels to benchmark against. While carbon fiber is known for its strength, questions regarding how it would perform under intense pressures and cold temperatures were hard to evaluate.
During the test dive, Josh and his team experienced issues with the submersible’s thrusters and computer controls. Although these could be considered common teething issues for a test dive, Josh couldn’t get comfortable with the project due to the lack of data on risk management with such an innovative craft.
Josh elaborated on the security measures aboard Titan, which included multiple systems for dropping weights in case of emergency, ballast chambers, and more. However, he also highlighted some challenging design features such as the inability to open Titan from the inside due to its carbon fiber construction.
Now, as the world anxiously awaits news of the missing submersible, Josh’s earlier reservations and concerns become particularly poignant. With less than 40 hours of oxygen for the crew and the submersible feared lost 12,500 feet below the surface, where pressures are immense and temperatures near freezing, the situation is dire.
The incident raises questions about the balance between innovation and safety, and how adventurers and scientists must sometimes grapple with unknown risks in pursuit of their passions.
While rescue efforts continue, thoughts are with the families and friends of those on board, and hope remains that, despite the odds, a miracle may still be possible.
For continued coverage on this developing story, stay tuned to our news updates.