Posted 23 июня, 09:22
Published 23 июня, 09:22
Modified 23 июня, 10:10
Updated 23 июня, 10:10
As it was officially announced yesterday, five crew members of the Titan bathyscaphe died instantly during a «catastrophic explosion» less than 500 meters from the Titanic. Most likely, it happened about two hours after the dive, shortly after the bathyscaphe lost contact with the escort ship. An anonymous source in the US Navy said that at that time military aircraft using sonar buoys heard «an acoustic anomaly corresponding to an explosion.» At the same time, according to an insider, representatives of the Navy passed this information to the US Coast Guard, and they used it to narrow the search area.
«I felt in my gut what had happened», — James Cameron said in an interview with the BBC. — Because if the electronics, the communication system and the tracking system responder fail on the submarine at the same time, it means that the submarine is lost. I immediately got in touch by phone with some of my contacts in the deep sea community. After about an hour, I had the following facts. They were on the descent. They were at a depth of 3500 meters, heading to the bottom at a depth of 3800 meters. They lost communication, lost navigation, and I immediately said that it was possible to lose both at the same time only because of a catastrophic event. And the first thing that came to mind was an explosion.»
According to Cameron, everything that happened for a few days after that resembled «a protracted nightmare farce, where people run around talking about noise, oxygen and other nonsense. I knew that the submarine was exactly below its last known depth. That's where she was found.» All Cameron thought it required was a remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV). As soon as such a device, the Odysseus 6x from the Canadian vessel Horizon Arctic, was activated, the wreckage of the bathyscaphe was found — «in a few hours, and possibly in a few minutes».
Cameron blames the arrogance of OceanGate employees who built and operated the Titan for the tragedy, despite warnings from experts about the risks and calls for certification. We are talking about a letter sent to the owner of OceanGate Stockton Rush by the Marine Technology Society (MTS) in March 2018, which stated that the «experimental» approach adopted by OceanGate… could lead to negative results (from insignificant to catastrophic).» «I am struck by the similarity to the Titanic disaster, when the captain was repeatedly warned about the ice ahead of his ship, and yet he crashed into an ice field at full speed on a moonless night, » says the filmmaker.
William Conen, chairman of the American Manned Underwater Vehicles Committee, also spoke about the frivolity of the OceanGate leadership on the Today program on BBC Radio 4. In 2018, this organization also expressed its concerns about the safety of Titan, when OceanGate announced its unwillingness to undergo a standard certification process, which consists of two independent checks. «We are smart only because we remember past mistakes, — Konen said. „The rules are written in blood — they were adopted because their non—compliance in the past caused problems.“
This remark of Konen was a response to the words of the co-founder of OceanGate Expeditions, Guillermo Sonlein, who stated that during the development process, which took 14 years, Titan was subjected to «thorough» checks. Explaining the rejection of the generally accepted certification, Sonlein stated: «There are rules, but, as you understand, there are not many submarines that go to such a depth, so the rules are quite meager, and many of them are outdated. It is not easy to navigate these regulatory schemes.»