A BBC documentary released last year documented a chilling malfunction on the doomed Titan submersible, leaving passengers stranded on the seabed.
During a dive from OceanGate to the wreck of the Titanic, almost 13,000 feet below the surface in the North Atlantic, the submarine’s engines malfunctioned, leaving the ship spinning in circles.
It was recorded in the BBC documentary Take Me to the Titanic.” As the submersible hits the seabed near Titanic’s resting place, footage of pilot Scott Griffith can be heard saying, “There’s something wrong with my engines.” I bump and nothing happens.”
“Am I spinning?” Griffith once said. “Oh dear God.”
He explained to the passengers that one of the engines was going forward and the other was going backward – meaning they couldn’t steer towards the shipwreck, which was only about 1,000 feet away.
“You know, I thought, ‘We’re not going to make it,'” passenger Renata Rojas told the BBC. “We have nowhere to go but go round in circles.”
Crew members were left waiting on the seabed while OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush worked to find a solution from the host ship.
Eventually, the pilot was instructed to reprogram the video game controller controlling the ship and regain control of the submarine. Passengers were then able to view the wreckage, which they had paid $250,000 to view.
Rush and four others died last month when the same submersible imploded during another tourist expedition to the Titanic site.
In the wake of the incident, numerous dive professionals and former OceanGate employees and partners spoke out, accusing Rush and the company of ignoring repeated warnings.
David Lochridge, OceanGate’s former director of naval operations, wrote in a 2018 email that he feared Rush was “killing himself and others to boost his ego.” The New Yorker reported this week. Lochridge claims he was fired from the company after raising the alarm about safety issues in a report.
Several past passengers have also spoken out about a number of mishaps and malfunctions they experienced on their own Titanic expeditions.