This is when the OceanGate co-founder learned during a TV interview that debris from the Titan submarine had been discovered by rescue crews.
Guillermo Sohnlein, who co-founded OceanGate with Stockton Rush in 2009, spoke to a BBC journalist when he was told that some pieces had been found on the ocean floor during the search for the missing submarine.
“I’m sorry, what was found?” a shocked Sohnlein asked quickly before the journalist said all he knew at this point was that debris had been found.
Sohnlein seemed breathless and taken aback by the news, which he probably knew meant an implosion had occurred aboard the ship.
He told the BBC: “I’m not sure (what the debris is) because I’m hearing this for the first time, but I know the protocol for lost communications is for the pilot to surface the sub. From the start I always thought Stockton probably would have done that.’
“In that case it becomes very difficult to find the submarine because the surface ship would not have known it was coming and would not have known where to look. My biggest fear in this whole thing as I watch the operations is that they’re floating around on the surface and they’re just really hard to find.”
But it later turned out that the debris found by a remote-controlled vehicle deployed by the Canadian ship Horizon Arctic were parts of the submarine Titan.
Guillermo Sohnlein, who co-founded OceanGate with Stockton Rush in 2009, spoke to a BBC journalist when he was told that pieces had been found on the ocean floor during the search for the missing submarine.
Graphical representation of the parts of the Titan submarine found after ‘catastrophic implosion’
Rear Admiral John Mauger, who led the search, said the fragments found in the debris field indicated that the submarine suffered a “catastrophic implosion” 500 meters from the bow of the Titanic, killing all five on board. came.
The somber announcement ended a multi-national search and rescue operation that had gripped the world since the small tourist vessel went missing in the North Atlantic on Sunday.
Mauger said parts of the Titan’s tail cone and landing frame were found first.
Authorities said they later learned that the discovered pieces also included the front and rear of the pressure hull, as well as the porthole where one of the doomed passengers would have looked out as the ship imploded.
All five on board — including British explorer Hamish Harding, British businessman Shahzada Dawood and his 19-year-old son Suleman — were said to have died instantly without ever knowing there was a problem, naval experts say.
It comes as former Royal Navy commander Ryan Ramsey, who served 23 years in the submarine service, said the debris will allow experts to analyze the structure of the breach and possibly “summarize what really happened in that last moments’.
Ramsey compared the current investigation to an investigation into a crashed plane, telling the BBC: ‘There’s no black box, so you won’t be able to track the latest movements of the ship itself.
“But as many pieces of the vessel as they can, to get that back to the surface, and from there they should be able to analyze the fracture structure, any fractures that occurred and maybe find out what actually happened.” in those last moments.’
The debris will be examined under a microscope and experts will try to find any breaks in the carbon fiber structure, which can help them pinpoint the exact spot where the break occurred.
Search and rescue officials say the five men likely died on Sunday before military aircraft using sonar buoys detected what they say could be SOS sounds in the water.
“The implosion would have generated significant broadband noise that the sonar buoys would have picked up,” US Coast Guard Rear Admiral John Mauger said at a news conference yesterday.
It would have been instant death for the men, some of whom paid £195,000 ($250,000) each to see the famous shipwreck.
Aileen Marty, a former naval officer and professor at Florida International University, said the implosion would have occurred at a speed of 1,500 miles per hour.
“It takes more — it takes about 0.25 more — for the human brain to realize it’s happening. So the whole thing would have collapsed before the individuals inside realized there was a problem,” Mr. Marty told CNN.
“They died in a way they didn’t even realize they were about to die. Among the many ways we pass, it’s ultimately painless.”
Sohnlein, who left OceanGate 10 years ago, said he would have acted no differently than Rush.
He said, “If anything, I think we should go back and learn from what’s happening, find out what happened, take those lessons and take them further.”
University student Suleman (left), 19, and his father Shahzada Dawood (right) were two of five victims who died instantly when the OceanGate submarine suffered a ‘catastrophic implosion’
British explorer Hamish Harding was among those killed in the ‘catastrophic implosion’
French Navy veteran PH Nargeolet (left) sat in the submarine with Stockton Rush (right), CEO of the OceanGate Expedition
Sohnlein said today that the rules surrounding visits to the Titanic wreck are “tricky to navigate” after the deep-sea vessel imploded while attempting to visit the site.
Sohnlein said there are rules around submersibles, but they are “scarce” and “outdated,” defending the company against critics, including Titanic film director James Cameron.
It comes after the submarine lost contact with the tour operator an hour and 45 minutes into the two-hour descent to the wreckage, with the ship only reported missing eight hours after communications were lost.
Cameron, who is a diving expert himself and has done scuba diving, told the BBC: “We now have another wreck which unfortunately is based on the same principles: not heeding warnings.”
But Sohnlein defended the submarine’s safety, saying he and co-founder Stockton Rush, who was aboard Titan, are committed to safety during expeditions.
He told Times Radio: ‘He was extremely committed to safety. He was also extremely diligent in managing risk and was well aware of the dangers of operating in a deep-sea environment.
“So that’s one of the main reasons I agreed to go with him in 2009.”
Mr. Sohnlein, who no longer works for the company, continues, “I know from first-hand experience that we were very committed to safety and security and risk mitigation was an important part of the company culture.”
He explained the rules for visiting the Titanic wreck and said: ‘The rules are quite brief. And many of them are outdated, or they are designed for specific cases.
“So it’s kind of tricky to navigate those regulatory schedules.”
Mr Sohnlein added on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘Anyone who operates at that depth of the ocean, whether in human-rated submersibles or robotic submarines, knows the risks of operating under such pressure and that at any time, on any mission. , with any vessel you run the risk of this kind of implosion.’