OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush received a warning from submersible expert Karl Stanley, who had personally experienced loud cracking sounds during a 2019 trip aboard the Titan, four years prior to its fateful implosion in the Atlantic Ocean. Stanley urged Rush to thoroughly investigate potential safety concerns before embarking on tourism expeditions to the Titanic with “dozens of other people.”
During Stanley’s trip in the Bahamas, he reported hearing persistent and mysterious cracking noises that grew louder over the course of the Titan’s descent of more than 12,000 feet.
Concerned about the implications, Stanley implored Rush to postpone the launch of Titan’s tourism operations in order to conduct a comprehensive examination of the vessel for any potential fractures.
Stanley questioned Rush to consider the scenario without external pressures, investors, or scheduled dives already in place, asking whether Rush would risk taking people to the Titanic before fully understanding the source of the alarming sounds.
According to an email obtained by the New York Times, Stanley described the noises as resembling a flaw or defect in one area of the vessel, being subjected to immense pressures that caused it to be crushed or damaged. While the exact source of the sounds remained uncertain, Stanley believed they indicated a breakdown in a section of the hull.
It is important to note that the Titan’s hull, which has not yet been recovered by ROV recovery teams, is believed to be responsible for the catastrophic implosion that claimed the lives of the five crew members during their ill-fated journey to the Titanic.
Although Rush did not directly respond to Stanley’s email, the expert claims that the CEO did take his advice into account. Allegedly, OceanGate replaced the hull and canceled planned dives for that year in response to the concerns raised by Stanley.