'He knew it was going to end like this': Stockton Rush's pal said OceanGate CEO designed 'mousetrap' for billionaires

19 July 2023, 10:04

OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush was one of five victims to die on the Titan sub
OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush was one of five victims to die on the Titan sub. Picture: Alamy/OceanGate
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Stockton Rush "definitely knew" his Titan sub voyages would end in disaster, a friend of the OceanGate CEO has said.

Karl Stanley, a friend of Mr Rush and a previous passenger on one of the Titan sub's trips, said Mr Rush was designing a "mousetrap for billionaires".

"He literally and figuratively went out with the biggest bang in human history that you can go out with," Mr Stanley told 60 Minutes Australia.

"And he was the last person to murder two billionaires at once and have them pay for the privilege."

Mr Rush was one of five victims to die onboard the Titan sub, alongside British billionaire Hamish Harding, French explorer Paul Henry Nargeolet, businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son, Suleman.

Stockton Rush, left, onboard an OceanGate submersible in 2013
Stockton Rush, left, onboard an OceanGate submersible in 2013. Picture: Alamy

Mr Stanley also said he was certain that Mr Rush's decision to use carbon fibre to design the ship's hull (the main body of a ship) contributed to its demise.

The hull was designed with carbon fibre, rather than titanium, which is believed to have been a cost-cutting move.

However, the carbon fibre hull was attached to other titanium materials, making the two harder to bond.

Under water, carbon fibre would compress at a quicker rate than titanium, placing increased pressure on the glue joints holding the two materials together.

Tim Foecke, a retired forensic metallurgist, said he was "very surprised" by the decision to user carbon fibre, since it would have been subject to compression under water, making an implosion more likely.

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OceanGate's Titan submersible
OceanGate's Titan submersible. Picture: Alamy

Mr Stanley said he raised his concerns about the sub's design to Mr Rush multiple times, but claims the OceanGate CEO 'brushed off' the criticism and used it to drive him forward.

As well as the use of of carbon fibre to design the hull, it was also shaped like a pill to fit more passengers on the $250,000 trip to see the Titanic wreckage.

Mr Rush said earlier this year: "This weight reduction allows us to carry a significantly greater payload, which we use to carry five crew members."