Reporter who rode Titanic submarine says there were ‘many red flags’

A video of a reporter expressing concerns for his Titan submarine ride last year has gone viral after the vehicle vanished off the coast of Canada with five people inside on Sunday.

Science writer David Pogue boarded the $1 million submersible for a CBS report published six months ago alongside OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, who is among the five missing passengers on the voyage to tour the wreckage of the Titanic.

Before Pogue’s trip on the Titan, he received a tour of the carbon-fiber submersible shown in the story. The correspondent commented on the vessel’s “improvised design” referencing an unofficial PlayStation controller used to steer it as well as lighting from Camping World.

“It seems like this submersible has some elements of MacGyvery jerry-rigged-ness. I mean you are putting construction pipes as ballast,” Pogue told Rush in an interview.

A tweet of the report, which has over 16 million views as of Tuesday afternoon, shows Pogue saying the submarine has as much room as a minivan. Pogue said the vehicle was the only five person submarine that could reach Titanic depths.

Rush argued against that description, mentioning that OceanGate worked with Boeing and NASA on the pressure vessel.

“I don’t know if I would use that description,” Rush said in the interview. “Everything else can fail. Your thrusters can go, your lights can go, you’re still going to be safe.”

The submersible has “about 40 hours of breathable air left,” U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Jason Frederick said Tuesday. Frederick added that rescue teams have searched 7,600 square miles of the Atlantic Ocean since Sunday without any results. The Titan had a 96-hour oxygen supply when it went to sea at about 6 a.m. Sunday, according toOceanGate Expeditions adviser  David Concannon, an adviser to OceanGate Expeditions.

OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush wanted submarine experience to feel like an elevator

Rush, who is the head of the deep-sea exploration company that owns the submersible, told Pogue during their ride last year that the trip on the Titan shouldn’t require a lot of skill on the passengers’ part.

“We only have one button and that’s it,” Rush said in the CBS report. “It should be like an elevator.

A ride on the vessel costs around $250,000. He said the clients who typically board the ship are Titanic enthusiasts, who he referred to as “Titananics,” people who mortgaged their homes or “people who don’t think twice about a trip of this cost.”

David Pogue said there were many red flags about the submarine

Pogue publicly addressed  his concerns with the Titan  in both his CBS report and an episode of his “Unsung Science” podcast.

He replied to a Twitter user Tuesday saying there were “many red flags” that urged him to challenge Rush on the submersible’s construction and the safety of future passengers. Pogue had already been concerned about the vehicle prior to his experiences on it.

“Yes, I was pretty terrified. I didn’t sleep the night before at all,” Pogue wrote on Twitter.

David Pogue said the passengers can survive if found soon

Pogue referenced his own voyage following the vessel’s disappearance adding insight on the group’s likelihood of survival.

“Remember my voyage to the Titanic last summer? In OceanGate’s homemade carbon-fiber sub?” Pogue tweeted Monday. “They took passengers out again this summer—but as of today, the sub is lost. Coast Guard is doing a search and rescue.”

What you need to know about sub: Maps, graphics show last location, depth and design

Titan passengers signed safety waivers in case of bad outcome

In the news video, Pogue revealed a part of the safety waiver he had to sign to ride the Titan submarine.

“An experimental submersible vessel that has not been approved or certified by any regulatory body and could result in physical injury, disability, emotional trauma or death,” Pogue read before saying, “where do I sign?”

Pogue said a tracker was discussed during his 2022 Titan trip

Pogue mentioned that this isn’t the first time the Titan disappeared. During his experience, the vessel went missing for five hours. He wasn’t inside the submarine but while in the control room on the surface ship he mentioned that there was no way to track the vessel.

A Twitter user asked Pogue if the submersible had an Emergency Locator Transmitter that aircrafts carry to which Pogue said it didn’t, as far as he knew.

“This submersible does not have any kind of beacon like that. On my expedition last summer, they did indeed get lost for about 5 hours, and adding such a beacon was discussed,” Pogue said.  “They could still send short texts to the sub, but did not know where it was. It was quiet and very tense, and they shut off the ship’s internet to prevent us from tweeting.”


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