British billionaire Hamish Harding was so desperate to see the wreckage of the Titanic that he put his concerns about the safety of the Titan submarine behind him and decided it was ‘safe enough’, revealed a friend who warned him about the journey .
Mr Harding and Titanic expert Paul-Henri Nargeolet were among the passengers who tragically lost their lives when the submarine ‘imploded’ this week, and now their friend has spoken out to reveal they are concerned about the OceanGate Expeditions ship.
Ocean explorer Victor Vescovo said the two passengers asked him if they should go, and he told them, “I wouldn’t get in that submarine.”
When asked if he had spoken to them prior to the trip, Mr Vescovo told Sky News: ‘Definitely, there was a common point of discussion within the community about the design risks of the submarine they were making.
“We all had concerns in the community and unfortunately they turned out to be true,” he added.
British billionaire Hamish Harding was so desperate to see the wreckage of the Titanic that he shrugged off his concerns about the safety of the Titan submarine and decided it was “safe enough,” according to a friend.
French sailor PH Nargeolet, 77, was a highly experienced diver and widely regarded as a ‘leading authority’ on the Titanic
Mr Vescovo described the ship’s implosion as a tragic ‘outlier’ and described Titan as ‘a different submarine and a different team’ who have ‘pushed the boundaries of safety too far’.
He added that the majority of operators “adhered to extremely strict safety protocols and standards and tests that we follow religiously.”
“But this was a different submarine and a different team and I think they thought they were advancing the state of the art and doing some interesting things but I think they pushed the boundaries of safety too far and it shows in what has happened’.
It comes after emails reportedly revealed that OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush dismissed warnings from a leading deep-sea exploration specialist that he may be endangering his clients.
The submarine Titan sank about 8 a.m. Sunday morning about 400 miles southeast of St John’s, Newfoundland. It lost contact at 9:45 a.m. but was not reported to the Coast Guard until 5:40 p.m.
Rob McCallum urged Rush – who perished on the Titan along with four others – to stop using the submarine until an independent agency has assessed it. That reports the BBC.
According to the emails, he told Rush that he “echoed that famous cry” of the builders of the Titanic: “She’s unsinkable.”
Rush, a self-professed innovator, dismissed the concerns, explaining that he was “fed up with industry players trying to use a security argument to stop innovation.”
The email exchange reportedly only ended when Oceangate’s lawyers threatened legal action.
Ocean explorer Victor Vescovo said the two passengers asked for his opinion on whether they should go, and that he told them, “I wouldn’t get in that submarine.”
Five passengers aboard the Titan were killed instantly when the submarine suffered a “catastrophic implosion” just 500 meters from the bow of the wrecked ocean liner, the US Coast Guard announced yesterday.
They included Harding, Nargeolet and Rush, as well as UK-based Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his 19-year-old son Suleman.
The group was said to have died on Sunday morning, as the ship losing contact with its mothership, MV Polar Prince, an hour and 45 minutes into the two-hour descent.
French sailor Nargeolet, 77, was a highly experienced diver and widely regarded as a ‘leading authority’ on the Titanic.
In chilling remarks he made to the Irish examiner in 2019, Nargeolet said, ‘When you’re 11 meters or 11 kilometers down, if something bad happens, the result is the same.
“If you’re in really deep water, you’ll be dead before you even realize something’s going on, so it’s just not a big deal.”
He led several expeditions to the cruiser wreck off the coast of Newfoundland and was on at least 35 dives to the wreck site.
His stepson, John Paschall, paid tribute to the French subpilot today, describing him as “fearless” and a “warm burst of energy.”
French naval veteran PH Nargeolet was among those lost on the submarine Titan
In a statement confirming the deaths of the five passengers, OceanGate said: ‘We now believe that our CEO Stockton Rush, Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman Dawood, Hamish Harding and Paul-Henri Nargeolet, are sadly lost.
These men were true explorers who shared a distinct spirit of adventure, and a deep passion for exploring and protecting the world’s oceans.
Our hearts are with these five souls and every member of their family at this tragic time. We grieve for the loss of life and joy they brought to everyone they knew.”
The company added: “This is an extremely sad time for our dedicated employees who are exhausted and deeply mourning this loss.
“The entire OceanGate family is deeply grateful to the countless men and women from multiple organizations of the international community who have contributed extensive resources and worked so hard on this mission.
“We appreciate their dedication to finding these five explorers and their days and nights of tireless work in support of our crew and their families.
“This is a very sad time for the entire community of explorers and for all the relatives of those who are lost at sea.”