‘Like a horror movie’: Titan victims would have known fate one minute before sub popped like ‘balloon’, expert says

11 July 2023, 16:07 | Updated: 11 July 2023, 16:09

An expert has offered his theory on the events leading up to the implosion.
An expert has offered his theory on the events leading up to the implosion. Picture: Alamy/Handout/Social media

By Jenny Medlicott

Passengers on the fateful Titan sub would have known their ‘fate’ about a minute before the sub’s implosion, a Spanish submarine expert has said.

Spanish submarine expert José Luis Martín has claimed that those on board the Titan sub, which suffered a “catastrophic implosion” killing all five passengers, would have known their fate about a minute beforehand.

The expert suggested that the sub would have lost stability and propulsion because of an electrical failure, which would have resulted in it falling towards the seabed “like an arrow vertically”.

It would have then started to free-fall at around 5,600 feet, dropping “as if it were a stone and without any control” for a further 3,000 feet. When it finally reached about 8,600 feet it would have “popped like a balloon” due to the abrupt change in pressure, Mr Martín theorised.

“The starting point is that the submarine is descending without any incident and in a horizontal plane until it reached about 1,700 meters (5,500 feet), he told Spanish newspaper NIUS.

“At that point, there was an electrical failure. It was left without an engine and without propulsion. That's when it lost communication with the Polar Prince.”

Mr Martín believes the passengers would have been piled on top of each other in total darkness for between 48 and 71 seconds.

Read more: 'You're dead anyway': OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush's 'very strange' response to safety concerns over Titan sub

Read more: OceanGate suspends all exploration and commercial operations following death of five explorers

The Titan is believed to have suffered a catastrophic implosion.
The Titan is believed to have suffered a catastrophic implosion. Picture: Alamy

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He also attributed the sub's alleged high-speed descent to the loss of propulsion.

“The Titan changed position and fell like an arrow vertically, because the 400 kilos of passengers that were in the porthole compromised the submarine. They all rushed and crowded on top of each other," he said.

“Imagine the horror, the fear and the agony. It must have been like a horror movie.”

He continued: “In that period of time they are realising everything. And what's more, in complete darkness.

“It's difficult to get an idea of what they experienced in those moments. After those 48 seconds, or one minute, the implosion and instantaneous sudden death occur.”

Five people died in a catastrophic implosion while aboard the Titan sub, including the company's CEO Stockton Rush, on June 18.

Rush had been travelling down to the Titanic wreckage with British billionaire Hamish Harding, French explorer Paul Henry Nargeolet, businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son, Suleman.

Safety concerns reported by several people connected to OceanGate, the company that built Titan, have since emerged.

Last week, OceanGate, the company that carried out the expeditions announced it would be suspending all exploration and commercial operations after the incident.

Inquiries into the implosion remain ongoing.