Shocking moment Titan sub spins out of control as passengers panic

6 July 2023, 12:48 | Updated: 6 July 2023, 12:58

Shocking footage shows the moment the pilot loses control
Shocking footage shows the moment the pilot loses control. Picture: TikTok/BBC/OceanGate

By Kit Heren

This is the terrifying moment the Titan sub started spinning when the pilot on an earlier voyage lost control of the thrusters.

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The submersible suffered a catastrophic implosion last month, killing all five men on board.

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

Shocking footage captured in a BBC documentary of a previous descent to the Titanic shows the pilot lose control of the thrusters, as one is pointing forwards and the other pointing backwards.

He asks the passengers: "Am I spinning?" When they reply in the affirmative he asks again: "I am?" prompting the passengers, who sound worried, to tell him again that they are.

The pilot tells the passengers: "When I'm thrusting forward, one of the thrusters is thrusting backwards right now.

"So the only thing I can do right now is a 360 [degree spin].

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

Read more: OceanGate's former finance director quit after CEO Stockton Rush told her to captain ill-fated Titan sub

One of the passengers, Reneta Rojas, says in an interview recorded back on dry land: "You know, I was thinking, we're not going to make it.

"We're literally 300 metres from Titanic, and although we're in the debris field, we can't go anywhere but go in circles."

When the thrusters began working properly again, Ms Rojas said that the passengers began applauding.

"We were just so happy we had figured out how to move forward,” she told the filmmakers.

"We started clapping inside the submersible and saying ‘Yes we can go.'"

Read more: All the 'red flag' claims made about OceanGate's Titan sub: The carbon fibre hull, game controllers and worrying noises

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

Several reports have emerged about safety concerns with the Titan raised ahead of its fateful final dive. At least some of these concerns appear to have been ignored by OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, who was on the ship.

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

The claims emerged in The New Yorker who said Mr Lochridge wrote: “I don’t want to be seen as a Tattle tale but I’m so worried he kills himself and others in the quest to boost his ego.

Stockton Rush onboard the Titan
Stockton Rush onboard the Titan. Picture: LBC / Alamy

“I would consider myself pretty ballsy when it comes to doing things that are dangerous but that sub is an accident waiting to happen.

“There’s no way on earth you could have paid me to dive the thing.

Mr Rush dismissed concerns about a “really loud bang” during a previous dive, it also emerged.

In a 2021 interview, he appeared to boast about ‘bending the rules’ in the construction of the Titan.

Alongside Rush, 61, British billionaire Hamish Harding, 58, experienced Titanic explorer Paul-Henri Nargeolet, 77, businessman Shahzada Dawood, 48, and his 19-year-old son, Suleman Dawood, also died.