Text messages have revealed how OceanGate CEO tried to convince a Las Vegas investor to take a trip to the Titanic on the company’s doomed submersible at a reduced rate with alarming claims about how safe it was.
Jay Bloom, a Las Vegas investor, revealed in a Facebook post that he turned down CEO and founder Stockton Rush’s offer of seats on the Titan submersible trip due to safety concerns.
In his post, Mr Bloom shared screenshots of messages he exchanged with Mr Rush months before the fatal trip in which he expressed safety concerns for himself and his son, Sean, who was supposed to join him on the excursion.
“I expressed safety concerns and Stockton told me: ‘While there’s obviously risk it’s way safer than flying in a helicopter or even scuba diving.’ I am sure he really believed what he was saying. But he was very wrong,” Mr Bloom wrote.
In text messages, Mr Bloom told Mr Rush that his son was concerned about “stupid” dangers like a giant squid or sperm whale attacking the submersible.
In response, Mr Rush assured Mr Bloom it was safe and due to the intense pressure at the depth of water they would be travelling, neither sperm whale nor giant squid would be able to reach them.
“There hasn’t been even an injury in 35 years in a non-military sub,” Mr Rush texted Mr Bloom.
Mr Bloom said he last saw Mr Rush in early March when the two went to the Titanic Exhibit at Luxor together.
Mr Bloom added: “Then, at lunch in the Luxor food court we talked about the dive, including safety. He was absolutely convinced that it was safer than crossing the street.”
Ultimately, Mr Bloom and his son pulled out of the trip due to scheduling conflicts.
“Our seats went to Shahzada Dawood and his 19-year-old son, Suleman Dawood,” Mr Bloom revealed on Facebook.
All five people aboard the Titan, including Mr Rush, Mr Dawood and Suleman Dawood died in a “catastrophic implosion” this past week.
Only in the days after the tragic incident was it revealed that the Titan submersible was possibly not as safe as Mr Rush believed it to be.
In a lawsuit, obtained by The New Republic, filed by a former OceanGate employee, it alleges that senior management ignored “visible flaws” that were flagged.
Additionally, nearly three dozen people in the submarine industry signed a letter expressing “unanimous concern” with the company’s decision not to seek outside evaluation and testing before bringing passengers down to the Titanic.
Mr Bloom wrote that Mr Rush “passionately believed in what he was doing” and expressed sorrow for the lost lives.