As the investigation continues into the OceanGate vessel tragedy, wheredied during a to the wreckage of the Titanic, questions have arisen about the Navy’s role in overseeing the operation and responding to possible warning signs.
A U.S. Navy official said the Navy detected “an acoustic anomaly consistent with an implosion” shortly after the sub, named Titan, lost contact with the surface. The information was relayed to the Coast Guard, which used it to narrow the radius of the search area, the official said, according to CBS News national security correspondent David Martin.
David Pogue, a correspondent for “CBS Sunday Morning,” waslast year and interviewed OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush — one of the five passengers onboard the submersible.
Pogue said he was “emotionally terrified” and didn’t sleep the night before he got into Titan. He said Rush “drives the thing with this game controller, and he uses rusty lead pipes from the construction industry as ballast.
“There were things that seemed sort of unsophisticated,” Pogue said, but Rush told Pogue “the part that keeps you alive, the part we care about, is that carbon fire cylinder and the titanium end caps,” which Rush said were “buttoned down.”
Pogue expressed uncertainty about why information about the Navy’s knowledge that it detected “an acoustic anomaly consistent with an implosion” wasn’t announced earlier, potentially saving additional search and rescue resources.
“It would have been nice for the Navy to let people know,” Pogue said. “But think of all those planes flying back and forth, spending millions of tax dollars searching on the surface. All of that could have been avoided. I don’t know the internal workings of the Navy, but personally, I think I would have informed the searchers.”
With ongoing search efforts to locate the remains of the missing passengers and uncover the details of their final moments, Pogue emphasized that the information could bring closure to the families of the victims.
Pogue pointed out that althoughhe shouldn’t bear the majority of the criticism considering his extensive education and experience.
A clip has resurfaced of sub pilot andgiving an interview in 2021, in which he says he’s “broken some rules” to make trips to the Titanic possible for his company. The interview was done with vlogger Alan Estrada, who joined him on a trip that year to the Titanic wreck aboard the Titan vessel.
“I’d like to be remembered as an innovator. I think it was General [Douglas] MacArthur who said, ‘You’re remembered for the rules you break,'” Rush said. “And I’ve broken some rules to make this. I think I’ve broken them with logic and good engineering behind me.”
Pogue said that the sentiment has shifted unfavorably towards Stockton Rush’s design, “the narrative has now turned against Stockton rushes design and you know, we should have seen this coming and what an idiot.”
“This was a Princeton-educated aerospace engineer. He built and designed his own airplanes. He built and designed previous submersibles. This one was designed in conjunction with NASA. It had been to the sea floor 20 times without incident,” he said. “Yes, it looks terrible now, and yes, we see things that were missed, but at the time, nobody thought anything at the time.”
While some anticipate a chilling effect on deep-sea tourism, Pogue suggests that individuals who thrive on danger and risk, such as Rush, may continue to pursue these ventures.
“There is a kind of person, and I think Stockton Rush was among them, who thrives on danger, who loves the danger, and who finds meaning in the risk of death. I believe they will return to activities like Mount Everest climbing, skydiving, and eventually deep-sea diving,” he said.