Ex-passenger says OceanGate CEO told crew to sleep in vessel when Titan’s battery died

In 2022, Jaden Pan, a television professional, recounted a chilling experience from his 2021 expedition to the Titanic wreck. Speaking on the BBC’s ‘The Travel Show,’ Pan shared a gripping incident that unfolded during their descent to the ocean floor, when one of the submersible’s batteries unexpectedly malfunctioned a mere two hours into the journey.

In his account, Jaden Pan stated that OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush reportedly proposed the idea of the crew spending the night in the submarine on the ocean floor near the wreck site. At first, Pan believed that Rush’s statement was meant as a joke.

‘At first, I thought he was joking’

Surprised by the news, Jaden Pan was taken aback when Stockton Rush revealed the battery failure to the passengers. The submarine was in close proximity to the iconic shipwreck, only a distance of two football fields away. Recounting his experience in the BBC documentary, Pan expressed his initial skepticism, stating, “At first, I thought he was joking because we were over two hours into our expedition and so close to the bottom.” However, Pan’s disbelief soon faded as Rush explained the situation, saying, “But then he explained that one of the batteries went kaput, and we were having trouble using the electronic drops for the weights, so it would be hard for us to get back up to the surface.”

As reported on The Travel Show, Jaden Pan was not the only participant on the dive expedition. Joining him were Renata Rojas, an employee of a bank, Oisin Fanning, an oceanographer, and Scott Griffith, a skilled submersible pilot.

‘We’re down here for another 16 to 24 hours’

In a critical moment, Rush allegedly proposed a daring plan for the crew: spending the night at the ocean’s bottom, patiently waiting for the submersible’s weights to dissolve over the next 24 hours. Rush conveyed, “We’re down here for another 16 to 24 hours. We will drift down. We’ll hit the bottom. We’ll have communications. We can talk to them.”

Surprisingly, some crew members, including Rush himself, seemed open to this unsettling suggestion. However, others expressed reservations about spending the night submerged in the depths of the ocean. Amidst the tension, Rush ingeniously utilized hydraulics to release the weights, enabling the Titan to ascend safely to the surface. The collective relief was palpable as the vessel resurfaced, with all passengers emerging unharmed.

‘Oh no! We have a problem’

During the dive, as the submersible reached the ocean floor, Jaden Pan overheard pilot Griffith exclaim, “Oh no. We have a problem.” It became evident that there was a problem with the thrusters as Griffith informed the crew, “When I’m thrusting forwards, one of the thrusters is thrusting backward. Now all I can do is a 360.” Rush attempted to recalibrate Griffith’s controls but cautioned the crew, “It’s not going to be easy.” Feeling a sense of despair, Rojas expressed her thoughts, saying, “I thought, we’re not going to make it!. We’re 300m from Titanic and all we can do is go in circles.”

Regrettably, this incident has resurfaced with tragic consequences, as a recent dive to the Titanic claimed the lives of five passengers, including OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush. The ill-fated voyage marked the final chapter for the Titan submersible, as its pressure chamber collapsed under the immense depths near the resting place of the Titanic, approximately 3,800 meters below sea level.

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