In a devastating turn of events, the Titan submersible, belonging to OceanGate Expeditions, met a catastrophic end during a dive in the North Atlantic.
Prior to this tragedy, a former employee of the company, David Lochridge, had raised alarming concerns about the CEO and potential safety issues related to the Titan.
These concerns, expressed in an email to another ex-associate, Rob McCallum, shed light on the leadership practices of CEO Stockton Rush and the overall safety of the vessel. Despite these warnings, the concerns were dismissed, and the submersible’s fatal flaw would soon be exposed.
During his employment at OceanGate from 2015 to 2018, David Lochridge, who served as both an independent contractor and an employee, communicated his apprehensions regarding the Titan submersible to Rob McCallum through email.
As reported by The New Yorker, David’s email not only highlighted his concerns about the vessel’s safety but also expressed unease about CEO Stockton Rush’s leadership.
In the email, he expressed his worry, stating that he did not want to be perceived as a tattletale but was genuinely concerned that Rush’s pursuit of personal validation could potentially endanger both himself and others.
These concerns were not isolated incidents. Rob McCallum had also expressed his apprehensions about the Titan’s safety to Rush in 2018, warning him about the potential risks that could endanger both Stockton Rush and the company’s clients.
McCallum emphasized the dangers associated with the submersible, stating, “As much as I appreciate entrepreneurship and innovation, you are potentially putting an entire industry at risk.”
Regrettably, the concerns raised by David Lochridge and Rob McCallum were disregarded as “baseless cries” by Rush, who took personal offense to them. Rush failed to acknowledge the gravity of the situation and dismissed the warnings, ultimately putting the lives of those involved at risk.
Haunting Email that Revealed the Fears of an Ex-OceanGate Employee
Whistleblowers revealed that the Titan submersible had several safety compromises. The sub’s carbon-fiber hull, described as “experimental,” was not suitable for extreme depths in deep-sea exploration.
Additionally, glue had leaked from the seams of ballast bags, further compromising the vessel’s structural integrity. Alarmingly, the Titan had not obtained independent certification, raising doubts about its safety standards.
In 2022, during an episode of BBC’s The Travel Show, Rush issued a cautionary statement to crew members and passengers about the dangers associated with descending to the Titanic wreck.
He openly acknowledged that the Titan was an experimental sub and that the environment they were entering was perilous.
This statement, made just a year before the tragic incident, foreshadowed the inherent risks involved. On June 18, during a dive to the Titanic wreckage, the OceanGate vessel lost contact with its mother ship, approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes into the descent.
The subsequent investigation confirmed that the Titan, a 23,000-pound craft composed of carbon fiber and titanium, experienced a catastrophic implosion, resulting in the tragic deaths of Stockton Rush, Hamish Harding, Paul-Henri Nargeolet, Shahzada Dawood, and Suleman Dawood.
Experts believe that the investigation into the wreckage of the Titan submarine will focus on identifying cracks that could explain the implosion.
Dr. Jasper Graham-Jones, a professor in mechanical and marine engineering at the University of Plymouth, suggests that an electrical disaster might have occurred following leaks in the vessel.
He speculates that an electrical catastrophe, corrosion, or even a fire could have been triggered by water leakage into the electrical system of the submersible.
Dr. Graham-Jones emphasizes that any water leakage reaching the electronics could lead to failure. He further suggests that pipes and external parts of the vessel might have experienced leaks, potentially resulting in corrosion and damage to the electrical components.
Furthermore, Dr. Graham-Jones explains that the implosion could be attributed to cracks in the submersible’s structure caused by fatigue and delamination.
By examining the cracks under an electron microscope, experts can determine their speed, direction, and confirm the nature of the material fatigue.