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24th Jun 2023

Titanic sub passengers will have ‘known hull was starting to crack’

Charlie Herbert

Titanic sub

‘They probably had warning’

James Cameron has said the five passengers on board the doomed Titanic sub will have known the hull was “starting to crack.”

Five people aboard the OceanGate vessel were killed instantly in a “catastrophic implosion” during its dive to the Titanic on Sunday.

Communications were lost with the Titan one hour and 45 minutes after it set off, sparking a massive international search as emergency oxygen supplies were due to expire around midday Thursday.

The US Coast Guard later announced that debris had been found on the seabed, 1,600 feet (488 meters) from the bow of the Titanic, leaving experts to determine “a catastrophic implosion of the vehicle” occured, claiming the lives of everyone on board: 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.

Their bodies may never be found.

Since the confirmation of what happened to the sub, it has been revealed that Rush ignored a number of safety warnings and concerns raised by others in the deep diving community, including film director James Cameron.

He said there were several “potential failure points” in the vessel, and that the passengers probably knew the hull was about to crack because of a warning system on the sub.

He added that he believes the sub was “coming up, trying to manage an emergency.”

Cameron told ABC News: “This OceanGate sub had sensors on the inside of the hull to give them a warning when it was starting to crack.

“And I think if that’s your idea of safety, then you’re doing it wrong. And they probably had warning that their hull was starting to delaminate, and it started to crack.

“It’s our belief we understand from inside the community that they had dropped their ascent weights and they were coming up, trying to manage an emergency.”

He told Good Morning America that the “Achilles heel of the sub” was the “main hull that the people were inside.”

He explained: “If I had to put money down on what the finding will be, the Achilles heel of the sub was the composite cylinder that was the main hull that the people were inside.

“There were two titanium end caps on each end. They are relatively intact on the seafloor. 

“But that carbon fiber composite cylinder is now just in very small pieces. It’s all rammed into one of the hemispheres. It’s pretty clear that’s what failed.”

In a statement, OceanGate hailed the sub’s passengers as “true explorers who shared a distinct spirit of adventure and a deep passion for exploring and protecting the world’s oceans”.

It added: “We grieve the loss of life and joy they brought to everyone they knew.”

Harding’s family remembered a “dedicated father” who was “a guide, an inspiration, a support and a living legend” following the news of his death.

In a statement, the family of the 58-year-old explorer said, according to a report in the Guardian: “He was one of a kind and we adored him. He was a passionate explorer – whatever the terrain – who lived his life for his family, his business and for the next adventure.

“What he achieved in his lifetime was truly remarkable and if we can take any small consolation from this tragedy, it’s that we lost him doing what he loved.”

Harding’s family said his death had left a “gap in our lives that can never be filled”, and that they were “united in grief” with the families of the others who had died.

“We know that Hamish would have been immensely proud to see how nations, experts, industry colleagues and friends came together for the search and we extend our heartfelt thanks for all their efforts.”

Related links:

All passengers aboard Titanic sub confirmed dead after vessel suffers ‘catastrophic implosion’

News channel slammed for starting Titanic submersible oxygen countdown

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’