A former OceanGate Expeditions employee emailed another ex-associate of the company years ago with concerns about the potential failings of its Titan submersible and an ominous warning about its CEO, who was killed last month with four others when the vessel imploded on a dive in the North Atlantic.
“I don’t want to be seen as a Tattle tale but I’m so worried he kills himself and others in the quest to boost his ego,” David Lochridge wrote about OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, according to The New Yorker. The company hosted $250,000-a-ticket tourist excursions to the 111-year-old remains of the Titanic.
Lochridge worked as an independent contractor for OceanGate in 2015, then as an employee between 2016 and 2018, CNN has reported. He soon became tangled in litigation with OceanGate, claiming he was wrongfully terminated for raising concerns about the safety and testing of the Titan.
“I would consider myself pretty ballsy when it comes to doing things that are dangerous, but that sub is an accident waiting to happen,” Lochridge wrote in the email to Rob McCallum, a project associate who disassociated over concerns not to class the vehicle by a marine-certification agency, according to reporting from The New Yorker.
“There’s no way on earth you could have paid me to dive the thing,” Lochridge continued.
McCallum, a divemaster who has led expeditions to the Titanic, warned Rush in 2018 about the safety of the Titan submersible, telling the CEO he was putting himself and his clients in danger, CNN previously reported.
The OceanGate vessel was about 1 hour and 45 minutes into a planned dive to reach the remains of the Titanic when it lost contact with its mother ship on June 18. Several days later, officials confirmed the Titan – a 23,000-pound craft made of carbon fiber and titanium, and about the size of a minivan – had suffered a “catastrophic implosion.”
The five men onboard have been identified as Rush; British businessman Hamish Harding; French diver Paul-Henri Nargeolet; Pakistani billionaire Shahzada Dawood; and Dawood’s 19-year-old son, Suleman Dawood.