Titan sub was badly damaged after being struck by lightning, OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush reveals in resurfaced interview

4 July 2023, 23:12

Five people died in a catastrophic implosion while on the Titan sub in June
Five people died in a catastrophic implosion while on the Titan sub in June. Picture: OceanGate/Alamy
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

OceanGate's doomed Titan submersible was damaged after it was struck by lightning in the Bahamas, the company's CEO revealed in 2020.

OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush revealed the sub was damaged during a test dive in 2018.

"Fortunately, it was not a direct strike," he told Matt Burdyny, the Vice President of Teledyne Marine.

"A direct strike to the carbon fibre probably would have taken us totally out."

Mr Rush was one of five victims to be killed inside the sub following a "catastrophic implosion".

OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush died in a catastrophic implosion on the Titan sub in June
OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush died in a catastrophic implosion on the Titan sub in June. Picture: OceanGate

The interview has since been deleted from Teledyne's website, though it remains online, including on YouTube.

Since the catastrophic implosion of the sub last month, questions have been raised about Mr Rush's approach to safety.

One former OceanGate employee who was fired after raising safety concerns sent an email saying he was worried the company’s boss, Stockton Rush, would end up dead along with others ‘in a quest to boost his ego’.

David Lochridge, formerly OceanGate’s director of marine operations, was fired after repeatedly raising concerns about the safety of the Titan sub.

Mr Lochridge emailed project associate Rob McCallum to say he was worried Mr Rush would die on the sub.

Mr McCallum also went on to quit over safety concerns.

Read More: 'I'm worried he kills himself and others in quest to boost his ego': Ex-OceanGate worker's email about CEO Stockton Rush

Read More: OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush told previous passengers to 'sleep' when sub battery went 'kaput' for 24 hours

Meanwhile, Mr Rush reportedly suggested passengers take a 'sleep' after the battery went 'kaput' during one of the sub's expeditions in 2021.

Videographer Jaden Pan joined one of the sub expeditions in 2021 but the mission took a frightening turn when just two hours into the vessel’s dive the battery failed.

Mr Pan revealed how when they made the journey to the floor of the Atlantic they were within 'two football fields’ of the wreckage when CEO Stockton Rush announced they needed to return to the surface.

“At first, I thought he was joking because we were over two hours into our expedition and so close to the bottom,” he said.

But according to the former passenger, Rush confessed that the battery on the vessel had gone “kaput” and there was issues “using the drops for the weights” which enabled the sub to make the return journey to the surface.

Rush then reportedly offered to let the passengers "sleep" while the vessel weights dissolved, as they needed 24 hours to do so, at which point the sub would be able to rise back to the surface.

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