There are several safety measures that could have helped the five people aboard the doomed Titanic-bound sub save themselves, a former passenger of the OceanGate vessel said Thursday — though they likely failed to prevent the reported fatal “implosion.”
Colin Taylor, a retired financier who made the $250,000 voyage to the shipwreck site last July, said he and other passengers were trained in the safety methods as they descended to the ocean’s floor.
“There’s a whole raft of redundant systems and safety mechanisms,” Taylor said during an interview in Newfoundland, Canada.
“For example, the weights — we’re trained in this as we go down — to drop the weights to go back to the surface. You flip a button or press a button on the surface of the screen,” he said.
“If, for whatever reason, that doesn’t work there’s a manual system … At some point in time, there’s an automatic system that kicks in that forces [the sub] back up,” he said.
His comments came before authorities announced that the missing submersible, which disappeared Sunday, was believed to have suffered a “catastrophic implosion,” likely killing everyone on board.
Debris from the wreckage discovered on the ocean floor is “consistent with the catastrophic loss of the pressure chamber,” the US Coast Guard announced Thursday.
Industry experts and a whistleblowing employee had previously come forward with fears about the safety of the vessel — in part because OceanGate opted against certifying it through groups like the American Bureau of Shipping and Det Norske Veritas in Europe.
Taylor, who said he recently dined with OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, called his nine-hour journey to the Titanic site “awe-inspiring,” but said he feared for the lives of people on board.
“I’m obviously very, very concerned,” he said.
Rush, billionaire explorer Hamish Harding, French Titanic expert Paul-Henri Nargeolet and Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his 19-year-old son, Sulaiman, died instantly when the Titan imploded under the pressure of the Atlantic Ocean, authorities said Thursday.