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Titan. Mike Reiss, Alan Estrada and Josh Gates and others share experiences from past submarine expeditions

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“Be one of the few who will see the Titanic with their own eyes” – is OceanGate’s advertising slogan posted on its website. How do Titan expeditions remember the expeditions near the most famous wreck? In the accounts of many, there is both excitement about the submarine trip and fear.

After a four-day search operation the coastguard said on Thursday about the discovery of the remains of the submarine Titan near the wreck of the Titanic. It underwent a “catastrophic implosion”, as a result of which it was completely destroyed and the five people on board were killed. Even before the announcement of this news, journalists, explorers and underwater tourists who had the opportunity to board the Titan before, talked about their experiences.

Discovery Channel’s cameraman Brian Weed participated in the Titan’s test dive in May 2021, in conjunction with the “Expedition Unknown” program. When a week later he was offered another expedition, he declined. As he admits in an interview with NBC News, although he does not avoid taking risks on a daily basis, he felt that not everything was according to plan and “the reward is not worth the risk”.

“The moment we started the test descent, everything started to go wrong,” he describes his memories of the Titan trip. In his opinion, the launch of the expedition was “clumsy” and about a quarter of the trip “propulsion system failures occurred.” “It was two months before[OceanGate]was supposed to make its first (commercial – ed.) dive near the Titanic, and that was very disturbing to me,” Weed admitted. He added, “The thought of going down and seeing the Titanic can really cloud your mind … and make you tend to overlook some really troubling issues.”

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SEE ALSO: He died aboard the Titan, a year earlier he was in space. As he mentioned

Participants describe their Titan expeditions

Josh Gates, host of Expedition Unknown, described the same Titan voyage as saying that there were “problems with thruster control, on-board computers and communications” during the same trip. “Honestly, I felt at the time that this submarine needed more testing,” he admitted.

The writer and producer of the popular cartoon series “The Simpsons” Mike Reiss made four 10-hour trips from OceanGate, including one near the wreck of the Titanic. He shared their details in last year’s episode of his podcast “What Am I Doing Here?”. As he confessed, during all four of them there were temporary connectivity problems. Describing the Hudson Canyon expedition, he said that as soon as the boat touched the bottom of the ocean, “there was a loud squawk on the radio.” – Sonar, computers and lights stopped working. We immediately returned to the surface,” he continued.

In turn, he compared the trip to the area of ​​the most famous wreck to “driving a car into the ocean”. – We didn’t get anywhere near the Titanic. Underwater currents were pushing us farther and farther in the wrong direction. The sonar wasn’t working, and the compass was turning east to west and north to south. There was also time pressure. We left too late and a hurricane was raging on the surface,” he described. Speaking to the BBC before the implosion was reported, however, Reiss stressed that in his opinion, the technical problems he witnessed “do not mean that this is a poor ship”. “It’s all new technology, (OceanGate) they’re learning it all the time,” he added, comparing the company’s operations to the early days of aviation or the first space programs.

He also decided to buy a trip to the wreck of the Titanic Mexican actor and YouTuber Alan Estrada. Initially, it was supposed to go on a journey in July 2021, but due to “technical problems” of the submarine, the trip was postponed by twelve months. Just being on board the Titan was described by Estrada as “nothing special”. – You are locked in a capsule, which may be unthinkable for a claustrophobic person, but nothing else happens. The moment when we found ourselves in front of the wreck was impressive – said the actor.

However, in an interview with the Daily Mail tabloid, the Mexican revealed that at some point the submarine he was in lost contact with the auxiliary ship for two hours. “My biggest fear, of course, was that I would lose my life,” the 42-year-old admitted, stressing that both he and the other passengers they were aware of the risk they were taking. Estrada also added that the expedition, of which he was a member, was cut short by four hours when the captain realized that the charge level of one of the batteries unexpectedly dropped below 40 percent.

CBS News correspondent David Pogue was among the few who made the Titan voyage. In his material from the expedition, he emphasized that he was hesitant to board the submarine created by OceanGate. He justified his doubts at the time by the fact that some of its components, he said, looked improvised. “You control this submarine with a game controller, and some of the ballast is abandoned structural pipes,” he said, addressing directly to owner of Stockton Rush.

SEE ALSO: View of the Titanic for a million zlotys. What do tourist expeditions look like on the most famous shipwreck in the world

Titan passengers: ‘There is a risk and we know it’

Aaron Newman, a former Titan passenger and investor in OceanGate, told NBC News that he felt “safe” during his submarine trip. – The crew was professional. (Its members) have gone through a lot of training on security issues and emergency systems, he noted. However, he added that, in his opinion, such ventures always involve risk. “You’re going down to places where very few people have been … so there’s a risk and we know it,” he said.

Arthur Loibl, who recently also spoke about his experiences related to traveling around the famous wreck. Speaking to The Associated Press about the 2021 expedition he made with Stockton Rush and French diver Paul-Henry Nargeolet, admitted that after some time he assessed it as a “kamikaze operation”. He admitted that in retrospect he had “a bit of doubt” and “looking back, he was naive”. Chelsea Kellogg, who took the trip last year, was quoted by NBC News as saying that her dream had come true and she was “overwhelmed by the emotions” surrounding the experience.

SEE ALSO: OceanGate co-founder: We are all aware of the risks of deep sea travel

NBC News, CNN, BBC, CBS News, TVN24.pl

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