Friend of Hamish Harding paid £110,000 to join Titanic submarine expedition but pulled out over ‘safety concerns’

21 June 2023, 19:09 | Updated: 21 June 2023, 20:24

Chris Brown was initially signed up to join the expedition.
Chris Brown was initially signed up to join the expedition. Picture: Alamy/Getty

By Jenny Medlicott

A man who was set to join his friend Hamish Harding on the OceanGate expedition said he withdrew his £110,000 payment over safety concerns.

Chris Brown, the founder of Inaccessibility.net, told LBC's Tom Swarbrick that he originally signed up to join Hamish Harding on the missing Titanic expedition but pulled out after paying £110,000.

Mr Brown was due to go on the expedition as a mission specialist.

When asked about the cost of the tour, he said: "When it initially started it was closer to £110,000. I paid £110,000 before the mission went out."

But roughly 18 months before their first expedition was due to take place, Mr Brown decided to back out.

He said: "I pulled out fairly early on. I don’t want to go into reasons while they're still searching."

He did, however, confirm his decision to back out of the mission was related to concerns about safety.

Read more: 'Banging noises' heard in search for missing Titanic sub ‘inconclusive,’ as Coast Guard say they ‘always have hope’

The explorer who narrowly avoided trip on missing OceanGate sub

When asked if he had thought about the fact he nearly ended up on the same submarine, Mr Brown replied: "“Yes that has occurred to me.

"One of the things that you’ll find in common with modern explorers is you go into these things knowing the risks.

“You always know there’s a risk there and that’s something you tend to accept.”

Mr Brown has known Hamish Harding since 2016 when they visited the south pole together, which was also attended by Buzz Aldrin.

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Chris paid £110,000 to join the sub before backing out.
Chris paid £110,000 to join the sub before backing out. Picture: Handout

Read more: Has the Titanic sub been found? Timeline of events and latest updates

Read more: Search for missing Titanic sub will continue 'as long as there’s an opportunity for survival' says US Coast Guard chief

It comes after the US coastguard said in a press conference today that despite hearing noises during their search they were still not sure what they were.

Captain Jamie Frederick of the US Coast Guard said: "We always have hope - that's why we're doing what we do."

However, rescuers were unable to say whether the vessel is still operable, saying: "We’re not in the business of speculation, we’re in the business of searching."

The search area for the sub has massively expanded in the last 24 hours to two times the size of Connecticut.

The submersible is believed to be around 12,500ft below the surface, which makes it incredibly difficult for rescue teams to reach.

Those trapped onboard include UK billionaire Hamish Harding, two Pakistanis - Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman - Stockton Rush, CEO of OceanGate Expeditions, as well as 73-year-old French explorer Paul-Henry Nargeolet.

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