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Father and son say red flags made them back out of doomed Titanic trip

They say the CEO of OceanGate Expeditions, which owns and operates the submersible, "brushed off" their concerns.
Father and son say red flags made them back out of doomed Titanic trip
Posted at 7:48 AM, Jun 24, 2023

Just weeks before the doomed submersible Titan was set to embark on the Titanic on June 18, a father and son gave up their seats on the vessel.

Investor Jay Bloom and his son Sean said there were some major red flags upfront, which led them to pass on the voyage. Their seats went to Shahzada and Suleman Dawood, the father and son who were among the five passengers that lost their lives on the Titan. 

"One of the safety concerns I had before getting on was literally about the structural integrity of the submarine," Sean said in an interview with CNN.

Sean had seen what he felt was an off-putting video of OceanGate Expeditions CEO Stockton Rush, whose company built the vessel and led the underwater excursions. In the video, Sean said Rush explained that the submersible was only meant for five people and was steered by a video game controller.

"I just didn't think that it could survive going that low into the ocean," Sean said.

SEE MORE: The science that put the Titan submersible at risk of implosion

When Sean told his father his worries, Jay agreed. They approached the CEO with questions, but Sean said Rush "brushed off" their concerns.

"I think his heart was in the right place and he really was passionate about his project and he believed everything he was saying," Jay told CNN of Rush.

But Jay just wasn't on the same page as Rush. 

He said another red flag for him was when the CEO was planning a trip to visit him and his son, but said he'd be flying in on a two-seater experimental plane that he built. 

As a pilot, Jay said he would never get on such a plane. 

"He has a different risk appetite than I do," Jay said. 

Rush was ultimately among those who perished aboard the Titan. 

On Thursday, the U.S. Coast Guard discovered debris about 1,600 feet from the Titanic in the Atlantic Ocean, after an almost five-day search and rescue mission. The debris, which the U.S. Navy confirmed belonged to the Titan, suggested that the vessel imploded underwater.

SEE MORE: NASA downplays its role in making doomed Titan sub

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