'What could go wrong?': Eerie joke made by chief of doomed Titan sub ahead of implosion that killed all five crew

6 March 2024, 17:59 | Updated: 6 March 2024, 18:01

Stockton Rush joked 'what could go wrong' ahead of the disaster
Stockton Rush joked 'what could go wrong' ahead of the disaster. Picture: OceanGate

By Kit Heren

The head of the company that built the doomed Titan submersible joked "what could go wrong" just weeks before a descent that ended with the deaths of all five crew members.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Stockton Rush, whose OceanGate company built the Titan submersible that suffered a "catastrophic implosion" last June, made the quip on a Canadian radio show a few weeks earlier.

It emerged after the disaster that several experts had made safety warnings about the Titan's deep-seaworthiness.

Mr Rush had claimed that the trip was "safer than crossing the street", with he and his company coming under fire following the catastrophe for their experimental engineering techniques.

Mr Rush told the St John's radio station that he had moved the launch date to June because the waters around the wreck of the Titanic - their destination - were the calmest at that time.

Read more: Mystery banging noises that sparked hope in desperate search for missing Titan submersible released for first time

Read more: 'Stockton is not my favourite person': Mum who lost half her family in Titan sub implosion reveals anger over tragedy

Onboard Oceangate Titan: Stockton Rush on board the Titan with other crew members before it went missing
Stockton Rush. Picture: Alamy

"So with the Polar Prince [the ship that took the submarine out to sea], that ice capability we thought, let's move the mission a little earlier this year.

"We specifically designed the submersible for this mission", he added.

Mr Rush, UK billionaire Hamish Harding, French explorer Paul Henry Nargeolet (PH), Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son, Suleman, all died last June after the Titan imploded.

The disappearance of the sub, which was heading to the Titanic, on June 18 sparked a huge rescue effort, and at one point banging sounds were heard by the people hunting for the sub - sparking faint hopes that the passengers could be saved.

The Oceangate submersible Titan
The Oceangate submersible Titan. Picture: Alamy

Investigators believe the Titan imploded as it made its descent into the deep North Atlantic waters.

The banging noises, which came at 30-minute intervals, were picked up on sonar by a Canadian aircraft in the Atlantic.

The noises were uncovered by a documentary crew who also found Mr Rush's radio interview.

The documentary-makers also spoke to a Titanic expert who said that the passengers' last moments would have been "absolutely torturous."

Titan Sub documentary reveals banging was heard in audio around time of incident

Dik Barton, the former vice president of RMS Titanic Inc., said: "The focus of both Stockton and PH would've been trying to gain some control of the submersible, trying to recover some height and getting the vessel stable and back to surface.

"That would've been their total and utter focus.

"The fear that would generate, I can't even comprehend. The last little while, I think would've been absolutely torturous."

The documentary, Minute by Minute: The Titan Sub Disaster investigates the events leading up to the expedition. It airs on Channel 5 on March 6 and 7.

Crews spent five days hunting the missing sub down before they discovered debris on the ocean floor near the wreck of the Titanic. Passengers had paid £250,000 a head.

It was reported last year that US authorities are investigating people involved in the Titanic sub, with a view to possibly filing criminal charges.OceanGate has since gone out of business.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Tom Tugendhat

Two top Tories back Tom Tugendhat to be next Conservative leader

Shockat Adam

Independent MP who dedicated surprise win to Gaza 'hit with death threat'

The Tavistock Centre

'No evidence' curbs on puberty blockers have led to rise in suicide among trans children, report finds

Thousands of flights were cancelled across the globe on Friday.

Boss of company behind global IT outage 'sincerely apologises' for worldwide chaos sparked by software bug

President Joe Biden

Joe Biden insists he will stay in race, as president's family 'discuss exit plan from election campaign'

A burnt out car in the Leeds suburb of Harehills, after vehicles were set on fire and a police car was overturned as residents were warned to stay home following an outbreak of disorder on Thursday evening. Picture date: Friday July 19, 2024.

Council to hold 'urgent review of 'family matter' after rioters wreak havoc in Leeds on night of 'shocking' carnage

Brendan Cole slaps his partner Fiona Hill's bottom three times

Strictly pro dancer slaps female partner's bottom three times in freshly surfaced footage, after two dancers leave show

Trump gunman researched Royal family member during planning for assassination attempt

Donald Trump gunman 'scoped out Kate Middleton and had pictures of her on his phone' before failed murder attempt

Thousands of flights were cancelled across the globe on Friday.

Misery for holidaymakers as 4,000 flights grounded by IT outage that sparked chaos, and recovery 'could cost billions'

Christina Sandera and Clint Eastwood in 2018

Clint Eastwood's partner Christina Sandera dies aged 61, as 94-year-old Hollywood icon gives poignant tribute

Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories is unlawful, the International Court of Justice has ruled

Top UN court rules Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories 'unlawful', as Netanyahu slams 'false decision'

Over 4,000 flights have been delayed or cancelled today.

Has your flight been affected by the global IT outage? Can you claim compensation?

Friday was the hottest day of the year so far - but the mini heatwave will end soon

Exact date mini-heatwave to end, as Friday becomes hottest day of the year so far with temperature close to 32C

Ben Ross has been missing since July 10

Mum of missing Brit Ben Ross to fly to Majorca for desperate search as police issue statement

Shaikha Makhra announced her split on Instagram

Dubai princess announces divorce from husband via Instagram 'as he is occupied with other companions'

Thousands of flights where cancelled across the globe on Friday.

Worldwide IT outage could last 'days' as flights grounded, shops closed and operations cancelled