OceanGate boss Stockton Rush previously spoke about ‘breaking rules’ to build the missing Titan submersible, newly emerged footage has shown.
Rush is shown giving a tour of the 22-foot vessel to Mexican actor Alan Estrada before he travelled to the Titanic on the submersible that is the subject of a massive search operation in the Atlantic ocean.
Rush, who is lost on the vessel, is seen telling Estrada – who filmed the video and posted it on YouTube last year – about the seven-inch thick acrylic window on the front of the Titan to give those inside a view of the famous wreckage that lies 12,500 feet below the ocean surface.
He explains that the window gets ‘squeezed’ by the water pressure as it descends, and that it gives a ‘warning’ if its going to ‘fail’.
Experts have said a structural failure is one of the possible fates suffered by the Titan, which set off on Sunday morning and lost contact with its mother ship after just 105 minutes into the two-hour descent to the Titanic wreckage.
Some fear this is likely amid reports that the deep-sea vessel did not meet the necessary safety standards to dive that deep, with Rush admitting in the clip himself that he has ‘broken some rules to make this’.
OceanGate boss Stockton Rush (pictured in a video filmed by Mexican actor Alan Estrada before he travelled to the Titanic on the submersible) previously spoke about ‘breaking rules’ to build the missing Titan submersible, newly emerged footage has shown
Rush (pictured), who is lost on the vessel, is seen in a new clip telling Mexican actor Estrada about the seven-inch thick acrylic window that is mounted on the front of the Titan to give those inside a view of the famous wreckage that lies 12,500 feet below the ocean surface
The Titan, a tourist submersible which runs $250,000 tours of the doomed Titanic ship and is operated by OceanGate Expeditions, has been under water since 8am on Sunday with five people on board. It is rapidly running out of time
The water pressure at the wreck site of the famous ocean liner is nearly 6,000 psi (pounds per square inch) – which means a weight equivalent to around two tons is exerted on any object at that depth.
Any vessel not able to withstand the pressure would be crushed, allowing water to flood inside. No human could survive such pressure without the protection of a submersible such as the Titan – and would be killed in such an event.
Despite the risks of entering such an inhospitable environment, Rush appears very confident in his invention in the clip, that has emerged on TikTok.
‘It’s acrylic – plexiglass,’ Rush tells Estrada after being asked what the window mounted at the front of the Titan vessel is made of.
‘It is seven inches thick and weighs about 80lbs. And when we go to the Titanic, it will squeeze in about three-quarters of an inch and just deforms,’ he explains.
‘And acrylic is great because before it cracks or fails, it starts to crackle so you get a huge warning if it’s going to fail.’
The video then shows Rush giving a tour of the submarine’s interior.
‘Typically when we’re in the dive, you’ll have two people sitting here (by the window) and two people here (behind them), and the pilot back there (at the rear of the vessel), so it’s quite a bit of room,’ he tells Estrada.
‘First thing we do – one button – so it doesn’t detonate,’ he says, pressing a small button mounted on the wall. As he does, monitors inside the craft flash on.
He then says that he has ambitions to make the sub require even less human input.
‘Hopefully, what I want it to be, is you walk in – it senses motion, it senses who you are. You say “hello Titan” – it sense your voice – it says: “Stockton, how deep are we diving today?” I say we’re going to 4,000 meters,’ he says of his vision.
‘The sub is your vehicle to get there, it should be an elevator, it should not be an exercise in buttons and switches and stuff,’ he says.
The clip then shows Rush explaining the various screens and interfaces that he as the pilot uses during a deep-dive mission, as Estrada narrates in Spanish.
‘I’d like to be remembered as an innovator,’ Rush is then seen telling the actor. ‘I think it was General (Douglas) MacArthur who said: “You’re remembered for the rules you break.” And you know, I’ve broken some rules to make this.
‘I think I broke them with logic and good engineering behind me. The carbon fibre and titanium, there’s a rule you don’t do that – well I did,’ the CEO says.
‘There’s picking the rules that you break that are the rules that will add value to others and add value to society, and that really to me is about innovation.’
He goes on to say he doesn’t consider his work ‘invention’ but ‘innovation’.
‘Innovation is when you take an invention and you make it accepted broadly. And it made me think of ocean exploration in the way everyone thinks of space exploration, because this is where we will find the strange new lifeforms – and the future of mankind is underwater, it’s not on Mars,’ he says.
‘We’re not going to have a base on Mars or the Moon, we’ll try and we’ll waste a lot of money, but we will have a base underwater.’
Mexican actor Alan Estrada told DailyMail.com that the Titan submarine lost communication for two hours during the July 3, 2022 voyage to the Titanic wreck
Estrada also shot this incredible photo of the Titanic’s famous bow. The ocean liner sunk on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York in April 1912, killing around 1,500 passengers
‘Because when the sun extinguishes, there will still be hydrothermal vents, and there will still be those life forms down there living off chemosynthesis that don’t needs the sun. If we trash this planet, the best lifeboat for mankind is underwater.’
Rush spoke to CBS News in the summer of 2022, and told reporter David Pogue on his podcast Unsung Science that his worst fear was getting the sub trapped.
‘What I worry about most are things that will stop me from being able to get to the surface,’ said Rush. ‘Overhangs, fish nets, entanglement hazards.’
But he insisted that such obstacles were avoidable.
‘And, that’s just a technique, piloting technique,’ said Rush. ‘It’s pretty clear — if it’s an overhang, don’t go under it. If there is a net, don’t go near it.
‘So, you can avoid those if you are just slow and steady.’
He said he didn’t think diving in a submersible was ‘very dangerous’ at all.
Rush added: ‘I mean, if you just want to be safe, don’t get out of bed. Don’t get in your car. Don’t do anything. At some point, you’re going to take some risk, and it really is a risk-reward question.
‘I think I can do this just as safely by breaking the rules.’
Officials said a debris field had been found by Odysseus 6k, a remote operated vehicle (ROV) deployed by the Canadian vessel, the Horizon Arctic, that can dive 20,000ft underwater.
Since the Titan vanished, Estrada has shared his experience, recalling how the vehicle’s batteries suddenly drained during the expedition, forcing it to end early.
He said the Titan’s energy source quickly drained to 40 percent power during a July 2022 mission to see the ill-fated ocean liner.
That saw Estrada and his fellow submariners’ time spent at the wreck slashed from four hours to one so they could return to the surface before the sub lost power.
Speaking on his YouTube video about the trip, he said: ‘For safety reasons this is completely understandable when the last battery – the submersible has two batteries – when the second battery has only 40 percent left, it is necessary to return to the surface for safety. This means that the four hours that they tell you that you are going to be down there are not fulfilled.’
Estrada – best known for his YouTube channel – still managed to snap a stunning selfie standing in front of the Titan’s porthole while holding up a Mexican flag, with the Titanic’s iconic bow visible in the depths.
Five people are onboard, including British billionaire adventurer Hamish Harding and Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman, who is just 19
French Navy veteran PH Nargeolet (left) is in the sub along with Stockton Rush (right), CEO of the OceanGate Expedition
The safety of the vessel has come under scrutiny since its disappearance.
Those boarding the submersible must sign a waiver that states: ‘This experimental vessel has not been approved or certified by any regulatory body and could result in physical injury, emotional trauma, or death.’
Pogue reported that passengers pay $250,000 to board the sub, but the sub is controlled by a Logitech games controller and fitted with camping lights. Communications with the mothership are done via text message.
‘I couldn’t help noticing how many pieces of this sub seemed improvised, with off-the-shelf components,’ he said. ‘Piloting the craft is run with a video game controller.’
While Pogue was at sea on the mothership, another team went down in the sub but failed to find the wreck: they were communicating with the mothership all the time but were unable to locate the metal hulk.
In the end they had to surface without having found it: passengers said they were lost underwater. OceanGate said they would be able to return the following summer at no cost and try again.
In 2019, OceanGate said that getting the sub ‘classified’ – or certified as safe – would be too lengthy a process.
Classification involves recruiting an independent organisation to ensure vessels like ships and submersibles meet industry-wide technical standards. It is a crucial way of ensuring a vessel is fit to operate.
They said it would not ‘ensure that operators adhere to proper operating procedures and decision-making processes – two areas that are much more important for mitigating risks at sea’.
The blog post said: ‘While classing agencies are willing to pursue the certification of new and innovative designs and ideas, they often have a multi-year approval cycle due to a lack of pre-existing standards.
‘Bringing an outside entity up to speed on every innovation before it is put into real-world testing is anathema to rapid innovation.’
The company said its ‘innovations’ included a real-time hull health monitoring system which is ‘not currently covered by any classing agency’.
OceanGate suggested its own in-house safety protocols were sufficient. The blog concluded that ‘by itself, classing is not sufficient to ensure safety’.
Timeline (British Summer Time) of the search for the Ocean Gate submersible, if Titan has lost its power the crew will be in complete darkness facing temperatures of 3C
The year before, OceanGate executives had fired their director of marine operations, David Lochridge, after disagreeing with his demand for more rigorous safety checks on the submersible, including ‘testing to prove its integrity’.
He also wanted the company to carry out a scan of Titan’s hull to ‘detect potential flaws’ rather than ‘relying on acoustic monitoring’ – which would only detect an issue ‘milliseconds before an implosion’.
In a court document filed in 2018, lawyers for the company said Lochridge’s employment was terminated because he ‘could not accept’ their research and plans, including safety protocols.
OceanGate also claimed Lochridge ‘desired to be fired’ and had shared confidential information with others and wiped a company hard drive. The firm said he ‘refused to accept the voracity of information’ about safety from Titan’s lead engineer.
Lochridge had relocated from the UK to Washington to work on the development of the Titan – which was previously called Cyclops 2.
A former Royal Navy marine engineer and ship’s diver, he was described by OceanGate as an ‘expert in the field of submarine operations and rescue’.
Legal filings obtained by DailyMail.com show that he wrote a report in 2018 which was critical of the company’s research and development process for the vessel.
Lochridge also ‘strongly encouraged that OceanGate utilize a classification agency, such as the American Bureau of Shipping, to inspect and certify the Titan’.
The suit states that ‘OceanGate refused both requests, and stated it was unwilling to pay for a classification agency to inspect its experimental design’.
Lochridge ‘disagreed with OceanGate’s position to dive the submersible without any non-destructive testing to prove its integrity, and to subject passengers to potential extreme danger in an experimental submersible’.
The former employee stated he could not accept OceanGate’s research and development plans. Based on Lochridge’s position, OceanGate terminated his employment, the legal filings reveal.
Pictured: File photo of inside the OceanGate Expeditions sub which is currently missing with five people on board
The Boston Coastguard is now looking for the missing vessel. The wreckage of the Titanic sits 12,500ft underwater around 370 miles from Newfoundland, Canada
Lochridge said he was ‘ignored’ when trying to raise verbal concerns over the safety and quality control of Titan.
Who is Stockton Rush?
Seattle-born Rush, 61, founded OceanGate Expeditions in 2009 – after trying, and failing, to buy explorer and businessman Steve Fossett’s submersible, after the adventurer died in a 2007 plane crash.
As a young man, Rush was more interested in space than deep seas: At 19, he became the youngest jet transport-rated pilot in the world, qualifying with the United Airlines Jet Training Institute.
For the next three years he flew for Saudi Arabian Airlines on his summer holidays from his aerospace engineering course at Princeton.
From 1984 he worked with the US Air Force on F-15s and anti-satellite missile programs, with the aim of eventually taking part in the space program.
Rush obtained an MBA from Berkeley and went on to work for multiple companies, specializing in sonar, subsea technology and radars.
Stockton Rush, CEO of OceanGate
He built a Glasair III experimental aircraft which he flew regularly, and his own Kittredge K-350 two-man submersible.
Rush always intended to take tourists to the Titanic: in 2017, he said he planned to then branch out to excursions to hydrothermal vents or deep-sea canyons, and underwater battlefield tours.
He then hoped to work with oil and gas exploration.
In 2018, the Manned Underwater Vehicles committee of the Marine Technology Society, a 60-year-old trade group, warned that the ‘current ‘experimental’ approach’ of the company could result in problems ‘from minor to catastrophic.’
The company also fired David Lochridge, who was Director of Marine operations for the Titan project, after disagreeing with his demand for more rigorous safety checks on the submersible, including ‘testing to prove its integrity’.
Additionally, the company opted against having the craft ‘classed’, an industry-wide practice whereby independent inspectors ensure vessels meet accepted technical standards.
He had several meetings in 2018 ‘regarding the quality control and safety of the Titan, particularly OceanGate’s refusal to conduct critical, non-destructive testing of the experimental design of the hull’.
During one meeting he discovered that the viewpoint was only built to a certified pressure of 4,250 feet (1,300 meters) – despite OceanGate intending to take passengers down to nearly 13,000 feet (4,000 meters).
Legal filings state: ‘Lochridge learned that the viewport manufacturer would only certify to a depth of 1,300 meters due to the experimental design of the viewport supplied by OceanGate, which was out of the Pressure Vessels for Human Occupancy (‘PVHO’) standards.
‘OceanGate refused to pay for the manufacturer to build a viewport that would meet the required depth of 4,000 meters.
‘The paying passengers would not be aware, and would not be informed, of this experimental design, the lack of non-destructive testing of the hull, or that hazardous flammable materials were being used within the submersible.
‘Discouraging whistleblowers from coming forth with quality control issues and safety concerns that threaten the safety of innocent passengers would undermine and jeopardize the public policy, and put innocent passengers at increased risk.’
The case was ultimately settled out of court in November 2018.
Lochridge did not immediately respond to a request for comment by DailyMail.com.
During its 2022 expedition, OceanGate reported the submersible had a battery issue on its first dive and had to be manually attached to its lifting platform, according to a November court filing.
Lochridge was set to make a series of dives in May 2018 in the Titan, before he was fired by OceanGate in January.
At the time they were charging $105,129 for the trip, with 54 people signing up for the deep dive – which ultimately did not happen.
Lochridge previously piloted a sub down to the Andrea Doria, a passenger liner that sank off Massachusetts in 1956, with the loss of nearly 50 lives.
In the same year that Lochridge raised his concerns, a group of industry experts wrote to Rush and warned that ‘the current ‘experimental’ approach’ of the company could result in problems ‘from minor to catastrophic.’
It was sent by the Manned Underwater Vehicles committee of the Marine Technology Society, a 60-year-old trade group that aims to promote ocean technology and educate the public about it.
But it is unclear if any employee or Rush himself responded to the letter, and there was no further detail on why the approach was considered dangerous.
I am Rakesh Sharma, I associated with Elite News as an Editor, since 2021. I take care of all the news operations like content, budget, hiring and policy making.