A close friend of OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, who was among the five passengers killed aboard the Titan submersible last month, has claimed that Rush knew about the flaws in the vessel and was creating a “mousetrap for billionaires”.
In an interview with 60 Minutes Australia, Karl Stanley talked about the Titan submarine tragedy and shared his experience of going on a test dive of the vessel with Stockton Rush in 2019.
The Titan submarine was carrying five passengers – Dubai-based British billionaire Hamish Harding; Shahzada Dawood, and his son Suleman, who were from a prominent Pakistani family; French explorer Paul-Henri Nargeolet; and Stockton Rush – to the Titanic shipwreck in the Atlantic when it is believed to have imploded, killing all on board.
Stanley, in the interview, said Rush knew the submersible vessel would end in disaster but he did not stop. “He definitely knew it was going to end like this. He literally and figuratively went out with the biggest bang in human history that you can go out with. And he was the last person to murder two billionaires at once and have them pay for the privilege,” said Stanley.
He claimed that Rush “was designing a mousetrap for billionaires”.
When asked if Rush had a “death wish,” Stanley responded: “The only question is, ‘When?’ He was risking his life and his customers’ lives to go down in history. He’s more famous now than anything else he would’ve done.”
Speaking about his 2019 dive aboard the Titan in the Bahamas with Rush, Stanley recalled hearing “loud, gunshot-like noises every three to four minutes”.
“That’s a heck of a sound to hear when you’re that far under the ocean in a craft that’s only been down that deep once before,” he added.
Stanley claimed that he highlighted these issues in a series of “heated calls and e-mails” to the OceanGate CEO. “There is an area of the hull that is breaking down. It will only get worse,” Stanley wrote to his friend.
Stanley added that he painted a picture of a “wrecked sub” at the bottom of the ocean but “even that wasn’t enough”.
On the “catastrophic implosion” of the Titan submarine, Stanley said he had no doubt in his mind that it was “the carbon fibre tube, which was the mechanical part, that failed”.
According to e-mails accessed by Insider, Stanley wanted to desperately tell Rush that there was a defect in Titan’s hull and that he feared the vessel would “fail catastrophically”.
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