Resurfaced Report Highlights Sub's 'Jerry-Rigged-Ness'

It's steered with a video game controller, for one thing
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 21, 2023 7:56 AM CDT

A CBS Sunday Morning segment on OceanGate's Titanic-touring submersible, originally aired in November, has now gone viral as it highlights the "MacGyvery jerry-rigged-ness" of the vanished vessel. Reporter David Pogue went inside the sub, where OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush—among five people now locked inside the missing capsule—showed him lighting purchased from Camping World and a modified gaming controller used to steer the vessel. "I couldn't help noticing how many pieces of this sub seemed improvised," Pogue commented. Rush countered that OceanGate worked with Boeing and NASA in creating the capsule itself.

Yet in a clip viewed 21.6 million times on Twitter in two days, Pogue reads from a waiver he was required to sign before going on a test dive, which describes the sub as an "experimental submersible vessel that has not been approved or certified by any regulatory body and could result in physical injury, disability, emotional trauma or death," per Deadline. In 2018, dozens of industry leaders warned that OceanGate's decision to forgo an inspection and certification could lead to "catastrophic" problems, the New York Times reports. OceanGate's director of marine operations at the time claimed the company was "unwilling to pay" for such an assessment. It now charges up to $250,000 per ticket to the Titanic.

Pogue knew the risks. "I stayed up all night the night before my dive," he tells CBS in a new interview. "I've never done anything that could kill me before and I was really, really scared." He adds Rush assured him the vessel would maintain an oxygen supply and had seven different ways of reaching the surface. "So why haven't they come to the surface?" Pogue asks. He says Rush told him he would be in real danger if the capsule sprung a leak or got snagged, but that that was very unlikely. However, author and reporter Dr. Michael Guillen recalled thinking he would die when a submersible he used to visit the Titanic in 2000 temporarily got stuck between the wreck's stern and propellers, per Yahoo.

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Pogue's test dive initially failed when the floats on the platform that lowers the Titan submersible into the water came loose. During a second dive, Pogue was in the control room on the sub's mother ship when the sub was lost for five hours, he tweeted Tuesday. According to Insider, Titan navigates via text messages sent from the mother ship. "It was quiet and very tense, and they shut off the ship's internet to prevent us from tweeting," Pogue wrote. The missing sub had 96 hours of oxygen when it departed at 6am Sunday. It lost contact about an hour and 45 minutes into its dive. Rescue teams have searched 7,600 square miles of ocean since then, to no avail, Coast Guard Capt. Jason Frederick said Tuesday, per USA Today. (Read more Titanic stories.)

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