The fallout from OceanGateGate continues.
Liz Taylor, a Bay Area deep sea engineer, told the Chronicle that she had advised OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush years ago against using carbon fiber in the ill-fated Titan submersible, which ultimately imploded and resulted in the tragic loss of five lives during its journey to the Titanic.
Taylor, president of Alameda-based marine technology company Doer Marine, who has extensive experience in building advanced submersibles, had a “long conversation” with Rush about his plans to build the submersible, she said in an interview with the Chronicle. She warned him against using relatively light carbon-fiber materials which can’t stand up against the compression that happens in a deep-sea environment.
Rush, who reportedly grew up in San Francisco, perished in the Titan submersible’s implosion, along with four others. The submersible was descending to explore the Titanic shipwreck, which is located 900 miles east of Cape Cod and about 13,000 feet below sea level, as CNN reported. It lost contact last Sunday and people were concerned about the amount of oxygen aboard for the next two days — but the submersible had already suffered a “catastrophic implosion” that killed everyone on board, U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral John Mauger said Thursday. Confirmation of the incident came when a remotely operated vehicle discovered the tail cone of the Titan, located approximately 1,600 feet away from the bow of the shipwreck.
Taylor reportedly called Rush a "charismatic" "marketing genius" who was "able to convince people that he knew what he was doing." He built the submersible despite being aware of the criticisms. In a 2021 interview with a Spanish video blogger, Rush acknowledged rules against combining carbon fiber and titanium, but said, "Well, I did. It's choosing the rules to break that can bring value to others and society, and that, to me, embodies innovation."
The individuals who tragically lost their lives on the Titan submersible include Rush, French maritime expert Paul-Henri Nargeolet, British businessman and explorer Hamish Harding, and British father and teenage son from a prominent Pakistani family, Shahzada Dawood and Suleman Dawood respectively.
Image of OceanGate submersible via Wikimedia/Isabeljohnson25.