Sub expert and friend of passenger on Titan is ‘deeply troubled’ after explorer ignored his ‘grave concerns’ for safety

26 July 2023, 18:05 | Updated: 27 July 2023, 12:55

Paul-Henri Nargeolet's friend has revealed he tried to talk Nargeolet out of joining the expedition.
Paul-Henri Nargeolet's friend has revealed he tried to talk Nargeolet out of joining the expedition. Picture: Alamy/Getty/OceanGate

By Jenny Medlicott

A submersible expert and ‘dear friend’ of one of the passengers who died on the doomed sub has revealed he is ‘deeply troubled’ after he was unable to talk his pal out of going on the expedition.

Patrick Lahey, the CEO and co-founder of Triton Submarines, revealed he expressed concern to friend Paul-Henri Nargeolet about taking part on the expedition ahead of the fatal journey - but to no avail.

The CEO said in a recent interview that he warned his friend numerous times about the sub, as he expressed he had “grave concern for his personal safety and for anyone else” who intended to go on the deep dive.

“I couldn't have been more unequivocal in my condemnation of that thing,” he told Insider.

Mr Lahey is the CEO of a Florida-based company that designs and manufactures submersibles.

Read more: Survivor of failed Titan trip recalls moment passengers had to 'rock from side to side' to get sub back to surface

But he had little influence on his friend’s decision, as Mr Nargeolet was known for his fascination with the Titanic wreckage - even acquiring the name ‘Mr. Titanic’.

He visited the wreckage more than 35 times throughout his lifetime.

But Mr Nargeolet was among those to fall victim to the sub’s “catastrophic implosion” in June, which resulted in the death of him and four others.

OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, British explorer Hamish Harding, Pakistani businessman and philanthropist Shahzada Dawood and his teenage son Suleman Dawood were also on board the doomed Titan.

Read more: DNA tests being carried out on human remains recovered from wreck of Titan submersible

Read more: Simulation shows how Titan sub collapsed 'millisecond by millisecond' as crew heard ominous 'loud pops and creaks'

Patrick said Paul-Henri Nargeolet was a 'dear friend' of his.
Patrick said Paul-Henri Nargeolet was a 'dear friend' of his. Picture: Alamy

According to Mr Lahey, his friend of more than two decades was “convinced by others” that the sub’s design “was maybe risky, but not that risky”.

His comments refer to reports that the sub was allegedly designed in a way that failed to meet safety standards, including the decision to use carbon fibre to design up the sub's hull (the main body of a ship).

“But in point of fact, it was incredibly risky, as we all know ... [it] was ultimately the worst decision he ever made," Lahey said.

In 2018, the Titan passenger’s pal even signed a letter addressed to OceanGate from industry leaders expressing concerns about the Titan sub.

“My biggest concern was that hull would collapse — it would collapse catastrophically and unexpectedly,” he said.

Mr Lahey believes ultimately the sub “was not safe for human occupants”.

His comments come after it today emerged that investigators are carrying out DNA tests on human remains found among the wreckage of the Titan submersible.

In a statement US coastguard said: "United States medical professionals are conducting a formal DNA analysis of presumed human remains that have been carefully recovered from within the wreckage at the site of the incident."

The website and social media accounts for OceanGate have now disappeared, and the company has instead simply left a holding statement saying it has suspended its operations.