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22nd Jun 2023

Doctor describes hell Titanic submarine passengers are going through

Steve Hopkins

‘They’re literally staring into the jaws of death’

The five passengers aboard the Titan submersible are likely in “intense emotional turmoil” a forensic psychiatrist has said, as the emergency oxygen supply reaches its final hours.

British billionaire Hamish Harding, 58, OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, French navy veteran Paul-Henri Nargeolet, 77, and Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood, 48, and his son Suleman, 19, are onboard the vessel where the emergency oxygen supply is expected to run out at 12.08pm UK time.

The OceanGate-owned vessel lost communication with tour operators one hour and 45 minutes into its dive on Sunday while about 435 miles south of St John’s, Newfoundland during a voyage to the Titanic shipwreck – that lies 12,500 feet below the ocean’s surface – off the coast of Canada. 

Doctor Sohom Das, a British forensic psychiatrist, told MailOnline that the ‘Titan five’ are likely to still be hopeful they will be rescued as a massive international operation is underway, however, as the air supply dwindles, “reality is going to seep in”.

Das said the group “must be in just intense emotional turmoil”, with “part of them is still going to be clinging to hope”, as time runs out.

He said the trapped group will have lots of different reactions to their situation, and their “reaction, their emotions might change over time”.

Das told MailOnline: “So at some point they’re going to be quite reflective upon their lives when they’re literally staring into the jaws of death and at other points, they’re likely to feel extremely panicked, extremely anxious,” he said.

The submersible is just 6.7m (22ft) long and has dimensions of 263 inches x 110 inches x 98 inches, around the same as a minivan. It is impossible for passengers to escape from, as 17 bolts are applied from the outside that have to be removed by an external crew.

It has no seats and a single toilet with a curtain for privacy.

Das went on to tell the Mail that as well as the emotional turmoil, the passengers will also suffer physically, with symptoms from “hyperventilation to feeling dizzy to chest pains”.

“They’re just going to be overwhelmed emotionally with trying to get to grips with what’s happening to them.”

Das suggested none of the passengers likely suffered from claustrophobia – given they’d chosen to take part – “but nevertheless, I’m sure the intense, claustrophobic nature of the scenario that they’re in as they come to grips with the possibility of losing their lives will just add to the overall tension and the feelings of anxiety that they have.”

US Coastguard Captain Jamie Frederick insisted on Wednesday during a press conference that there was still hope of a successful rescue, saying: “We have to remain optimistic and hopeful when we are in a search and rescue case.

“If we continue to search, potentially we could be at that point… And that’s a discussion we will have with the families long before I am going to discuss here publicly.” 

Read the full MailOnline article here.

Related links:

Rescuers will only have one chance to save everyone on Titanic submarine if it found, expert says

The exact time the Titan submarine will run out of oxygen

Gaming controller used to pilot lost Titanic submarine has received hundreds of negative reviews online

Loose Women star Janet Street-Porter calls missing Titanic explorers ‘selfish billionaires’

Submarine expert gives grim prediction on survival chances of those on board

‘Claustrophobic’ photos show how small the submersible is that went missing during Titanic tour