New Jersey graduate among those dead in submarine set for Titanic
🔷 One man aboard the lost sub craft has a tie to NJ
🔷 The co-founder of Oceangate graduated from Princeton University
🔷 A debris field was found in the search area, according to Coast Guard officials
Update 3 p.m.: Oceangate has released a statement, saying they believe all five people aboard Titan have been "lost."
The outlook was extremely grim on Thursday, days after the disappearance of a submersible craft headed to view the Titanic wreckage.
A debris field has been discovered within the search area, according to Coast Guard officials, ahead of an afternoon media briefing.
One of the five men missing aboard Titan since Sunday was a Princeton University alum.
Oceangate CEO and co-founder Stockton Rush graduated in 1984 with a major in mechanical and aerospace engineering.
The company has designed “experimental” deep-sea submarines and leads underwater expeditions, steadily rejecting the idea of calling it luxury tourism.
Those who have paid $250,000 to take the 8-day trip have been consistently referred to as “mission specialists” — in Oceangate-made videos and in past interviews with Rush.
Rush was featured as “Tiger of the Week" in a 2017 digital edition of Princeton Alumni Weekly, or PAW.
At that point, the company had taken clients to the wreckage of the Andrea Doria, roughly 300 miles east of New York.
Another set of Oceangate missions visited a New Jersey-built ocean liner that sank off the West Coast in April 1921. The SS Governor — built in Camden — was struck and sank in the Puget Sound.
As Oceangate was poised to descend roughly 2.5 miles to the infamous 1912 wreck of the Titantic, Rush talked to his alma mater about the value of such daring trips.
“Getting data on any wreck in any location over time has research value,” Rush said in his PAW interview. “There are thousands of shipwrecks worldwide that sank with over 500,000 gallons of toxic substances, typically fuel oil.”
Rush had been on every one of OceanGate’s dives, at the time.
“Part of what we do is get people to appreciate that most of human history is underwater," he said.
Late in 2022, CBS News correspondent David Pogue joined Rush as he showed him around the deep-sea submersible with a steep entrance fee.
A gaming controller retrofitted for the mission has been used to pilot the submersible, as Rush showed Pogue.
Among features lacking on the sub craft is an acoustic homing beacon that could "ping" its location in such a disastrous situation.
Such a lack of safety standards being met had been pointed out years ago.
“Our apprehension is that the current experimental approach adopted by Oceangate could result in negative outcomes (from minor to catastrophic) that would have serious consequences for everyone in the industry,” according to a 2018 letter addressed to Rush from the Manned Underwater Vehicles committee of the Marine Technology Society.
The letter was included in a recent report by The New York Times.
A promotional video shared by Oceangate ahead of this year's Titanic expedition spoke about safety checks and the craft's design as having input from partners with "NASA and Boeing."