'Ticking time bomb' Titan sub would have 'collapsed in milliseconds' and 'killed passengers instantly'

23 July 2023, 14:23 | Updated: 23 July 2023, 14:31

The Titan submersible is likely to have “collapsed in milliseconds”
The Titan submersible is likely to have “collapsed in milliseconds”. Picture: Social media/Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

The Titan sub is likely to have collapsed in milliseconds and killed all passengers instantly, experts have said.

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Former OceanGate consultant Rob McCallum said the blast would have been so powerful that the group would not have even have been aware that they were in danger.

Five people died on the Titan's sub in June as they journeyed to see the Titanic's wreckage, including the company's CEO Stockton Rush.

The others on board were UK billionaire Hamish Harding, French explorer Paul Henry Nargeolet, Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son, Suleman.

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

Read more: OceanGate boss Stockton Rush wanted to hire the cast of the Titanic movie to accompany his billionaire guests

Graphic explains how Titan submersible imploded

Mr McCallum had worked with Rush when the project was earlier on in development but had concerns that the sub was a "ticking time bomb".

He said he decided to leave over OceanGate's “completely reckless” approach to the project.

Addressing the fate of the passengers, Mr McCallum told Sixty Minutes Australia: "The whole volume of a submersible collapses in about two milliseconds.

"And it takes 25 milliseconds for the human brain to detect a threat… It’s not so much that you die, it’s that you cease to exist. It’s almost the perfect end."

He continued: "[They] were diving in something which really was a ticking time bomb.

"I can’t say that from a technical standpoint I was surprised. That’s why we tried so hard to prevent it.

"They were so proud of flaunting the accepted norms, and if you’re going to flaunt an accepted norm you really need to know what you’re doing and I wasn’t convinced that that level of expertise was there."

Submersible lost on dive to Titanic suffered 'catastrophic implosion', say US Coast Guard

Mr McCallum added that it may have been "great fun" for OceanGate to break world records but that meant nothing if people did not make it back.

“That is such a toxic culture when it comes to safety and it’s the reverse of everything I know in the maritime industry, " he said.

The Titan sub lost communication with its mothership on June 18 and debris was found on the sea floor days later.

Following the incident, it emerged that safety concerns were raised multiple times before, with several people including Ross Kemp and YouTuber Mr Beast having dropped out of doing similar trips.

OceanGate suspended all exploration and commercial operations after the tragedy.