By George Leopold
Guest: Curt Newport
They likely died instantaneously, within milliseconds. The five passengers diving to the Titanic aboard OceanGate’s Titan submersible in June did not have to perish this way. Safety and certification protocols were dodged. And, it turns out, OceanGate CEO’s Stockton Rush’s carbon-fiber submersible design was deeply flawed.
In designing and deploying the Titan submersible, Rush and OceanGate “ignored a lot of protocols,” submersible and underwater salvage export Curt Newport tells us.
The Titan submersible “design was so experimental that [OceanGate] felt the need to put a health monitoring system on it,” Newport notes. “Well, if it’s that innovative, and you got to do that to make sure it’s safe, maybe you shouldn’t be dying on it.”
But they did: Rush, the pilot; French submariner and Titanic expert Paul-Henri Nargeolet; and three passengers.
Curt Newport has participated in or overseen many high-profile underwater search and salvage operations during his illustrious career. The long list includes the 1999 recovery of astronaut Gus Grissom’s Liberty Bell 7 spacecraft and the successful search for the USS Indianapolis, the American heavy cruiser sunk by a Japanese submarine after delivering the Hiroshima atomic bomb in July 1945. During many salvage operations, Newport fashioned the tools needed to find and salvage lost ships, airplanes and other sunken objects.
Listen to our podcast discussion with Curt Newport here.
George Leopold, a frequent contributor to the Ojo-Yoshida Report, is the author of Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom.
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