Oceangate Titan: Titanic sub badly damaged after being struck by lightning as interview with CEO resurfaces
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OceanGate’s ill-fated Titan submersible was damaged after it was struck by lightning in the Bahamas, the company’s CEO revealed in an interview three years ago. Stockton Rush, who died alongside four others in the doomed vessel last month, said the sub was damaged during a test dive in 2018.
In a recently surfaced interview with the Vice President of Teledyne Marine, Matt Burdyny, he said: “Fortunately, it was not a direct strike. A direct strike to the carbon fibre probably would have taken us totally out.”
The four other individuals on board when the sub imploded back in June were British billionaire Hamish Harding, British businessman Shahzada Dawood, his son Suleman Dawood and French submersible pilot Paul-Henri Nargeolet. They were killed inside the sub following a “catastrophic implosion”.
According to reports, the interview has since been deleted from Teledyne’s website, though it remains online including on Youtube. The fatal implosion of the sub has since raised questions about Rush’s approach to safety.
David Lochbridge, formerly OceanGate’s director of marine operations, was fired after repeatedly raising concerns about the safety of the Titan sub. He emailed project associate Rob McCallum to say he was worried Rush would die on the sub. McCallum also went on to quit over safety concerns.
Rush also reportedly suggested passengers take a ‘sleep’ after the battery went ‘kaput’ during one of the sub’s expeditions in 2021.
When Rush informed the five passengers that they had to return to the surface, they were approximately two football fields away from the sunken ship.
He said on the show: “At first, I thought he was joking because we were over two hours into our expedition and so close to the bottom,” Pan said on the show.
“But then he explained that one of the batteries went kaput and we were having trouble using the electronic drops for the weights, so it would be hard for us to get back up to the surface.”
Rush then suggested that his passengers sleep while the Titan’s weights dissolved, a 24-hour process that allowed it to ascend, said Pan.
Pan explained that half of the crew, including Rush, had no problem sleeping in the abyss, but the other half refused, so the CEO used hydraulics to lower the weight and the Titan returned to the surface.