Titan sub was hit by issues at least SIX times before vanishing

There but for the grace of God… Missing Titan sub was hit by technical issues on at least six previous occasions over the last five years, before vanishing during expedition to see Titanic on Sunday

  • One man has claimed the Titanic voyage to see the wreck was a ‘suicide mission’ while another has said they had to abort after losing power 
  • Here, DailyMail.com lists numerous close calls and mishaps from others who decided to make the trip or who became embroiled in legal battles over Titan 
  • READ MORE: MailOnline’s live coverage of missing submersible Titan

The missing Titan submarine had been hit by technical issues and mishaps on at least six previous occasions before it vanished over the weekend. 

The submersible has been missing since 9.45am on Sunday morning after being launched into the Atlantic at 8am.

There are five people onboard including three wealthy tourists that are sharing a dwindling oxygen supply which is due to run out around 7am ET Thursday.

At 12,500ft underwater, there are few vessels able to dive deep enough to find it.

One of Pakistan’s richest men, Shahzada Dawood, is aboard the vessel alongside his son Suleman, British billionaire Hamish Harding, OceanGate chief executive Stockton Rush and French explorer Paul-Henry Nargeolet. 

Here, DailyMail.com lists numerous close calls and problems that people have had with the now missing sub.

The Titan sub submerged at 8am on Sunday morning around 400 miles southeast of St John’s, Newfoundland, according to the US Coast Guard

French explorer PH Nargeolet and OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush are among those trapped on the submersible 

Shahzada Dawood and his 19-year-old son Suleman are also on board, along with British billionaire Hamish Harding 

German adventurer who paid to see the wreck of the Titanic likened voyage to a suicide mission

In August of 2021, Arthur Loibl dived down 12,500 feet to the Atlantic wreck site and has said he was ‘incredibly lucky’ to survive the voyage.

Speaking to German tabloid Bild, Loibl recalls the first submarine they tried didn’t work and a second attempted dive had to be abandoned. 

The 60-year-old said parts fell off and the mission went into the water five hours late due to electrical problems.

This, Loibl suspects, could be the cause of the Titan’s disappearance. He told Bild: ‘It was a suicide mission back then!’

Loibl said that he had paid 100,000 euros for the adventure and booked it through an English company that organizes special safaris.

German explorer Arthur Loibl, 60, is pictured (right) on board with OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush (centre) and French explorer Paul-Henry Nargeolet (left) who are both now missing 

Loibl (pictured) knows a thing or two about risk taking. He has previously travelled to the North and South Pole, and flown over Russia in a MiG-29 fighter jet

He said: ‘The first submarine didn’t work, then a dive at 1,600 meters had to be abandoned. 

‘My mission was the 5th, but we also went into the water five hours late due to electrical problems.’

Shortly before the sub was launched, Loibl says the bracket of the stabilization tube – used to provide balance as the craft descends into the depths – fell off the vessel.

‘That was reattached with zip ties. That didn’t worry me,’ he tells Bild.

As for conditions inside the vessel, the adventurer says they were challenging.

‘You need strong nerves, you mustn’t be claustrophobic and you have to be able to sit cross-legged for ten hours,’ Loibl says. 

‘It must be hell down there. There’s only 2.50 meters of space, it’s four degrees, there’s no chair, no toilet.’ 

With Loibl inside, the Titan travelled around the wreck twice and once even touched down on its deck, he said, before making the return journey. 

OceanGate refused to put sub through independent inspection and fired director after he asked for more safety tests

The former Director of Marine operations for the Titan project, David Lochridge, was fired from the company in 2018 after he raised concerns about its safety.

Bosses at the firm disagreed with his demands for more rigorous safety checks on the submersible, including ‘testing to prove integrity’.

The company also opted against having the craft ‘classed’, an industry-wide practice whereby independent inspectors ensure vessels meet accepted technical standards. 

OceanGate, which charges up to $250,000 for a seat on the submersible, suggested that seeking classification could take years and would be ‘anathema to rapid innovation’. 

Lochridge, whose role included overseeing safety on the Titan project, had urged OceanGate to seek classification several years ago, before he was sacked in a disagreement about safety checks on the craft. 

OceanGate bosses fired David Lochridge, who was Director of Marine operations for the Titan project, in 2018 after it disagreed with his demand for more rigorous safety checks on the submersible, which is missing after a mission to the Titanic wreckage

He also wanted the company to carry out a scan of Titan’s hull to ‘detect potential flaws’ rather than ‘relying on acoustic monitoring’ – which would only detect an issue ‘milliseconds before an implosion’.

In a court document filed in 2018, lawyers for the company said Lochridge’s employment was terminated because he ‘could not accept’ their research and plans, including safety protocols.

OceanGate also claimed that Lochridge ‘desired to be fired’ and had shared confidential information with others and wiped a company hard drive. The company said he ‘refused to accept the voracity of information’ about safety from Titan’s lead engineer.

In his report he said: ‘With Cyclops 2 (Titan) being handed off from Engineering to Operations in the coming weeks, now is the time to properly address items that may pose a safety risk to personnel.

‘Verbal communication of the key items I have addressed in my attached document have been dismissed on several occasions, so I feel now I must make this report so there is an official record in place.’

Mexican vlogger says doomed Titan submersible’s batteries suddenly drained during 2022 trip to Titanic

YouTuber Alan Estrada had been on board the missing Titan sub when the batteries of the sub suddenly drained during the expedition, forcing it to end early. 

Estrada shared chilling details of how the Titan’s energy source quickly drained to 40 percent power during a July 2022 mission to see the ill-fated ocean liner. 

Mexican-born Estrada and his fellow submariners’ time spent at the wreck was slashed from four hours to one so they could return to the surface before the sub lost power. 

Speaking on his YouTube video about the trip, he said: ‘For safety reasons this is completely understandable when the last battery – the submersible has two batteries – when the second battery has only 40 percent left, it is necessary to return to the surface for safety.

‘This means that the four hours that they tell you that you are going to be down there are not fulfilled

Mexican actor Alan Estrada told DailyMail.com that the Titan submarine lost communication for two hours during the July 3, 2022 voyage to the Titanic wreck at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean

Estrada also shot this incredible photo of the Titanic’s famous bow. The ocean liner sunk on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York in April 1912, killing around 1,500 passengers

Estrada – best known for his YouTube channel – still managed to snap a stunning selfie standing in front of the Titan’s porthole, with the Titanic’s iconic bow visible in the depths.

The vlogger also told of how the Titan suffered a two-hour communications blackout during his voyage.

Estrada, whose trip on the sub was paid for by sponsors, says it was originally-scheduled for July 2021, but pushed back by a year due to unspecified ‘difficulties’ with the Titan.

‘My biggest concern was obviously losing my life,’ Estrada told DailyMail.com. ‘All the people who made this expedition … we are aware of the risks we are taking. It’s not a surprise.’   

OceanGate CEO was sued for FRAUD by couple after taking $120,000 to see wreck when he knew sub was not ready  

Florida couple Marc and Sharon Hagle sued OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush after accusing him of misleading them about their Titanic trip and refusing to refund them. 

The couple, who made their fortune in commercial real estate, had been booked as some of the first customers for OceanGate.

But they never got to take their trip, and in February this year sued Rush, accusing him of selling the adventure knowing it was not on schedule, and refusing to refund their cash.

The Hagles claim that Rush, a Princeton-educated engineer and pilot with an MBA from Berkeley, traveled to their home in Winter Park, a suburb of Orlando, Florida, to convince them to buy in to his company.  

The submersible he intended to use was named Cyclops 2 at the time – it has since been renamed Titan.

They claim the trip was postponed by a year three separate times, due to testing requirements and unspecified ‘equipment failure.’

Marc Hagle, 74, and his wife Sharon, 73, had  intended to visit the Titanic wreck with OceanGate, and paid in 2017, but sued in February this year for fraud

They said their money was not – as had been promised – kept in a separate account, where they could recover it.

The company allegedly told the Hagles they could join a 2021 mission to the Titanic’s sunken hull, but not get a refund.

They argued that Rush violated state fraud and unfair and deceptive practices statutes.

The Hagles are seeking the return of their money, as well as attorneys’ fees and other reimbursement for their pains. It’s unclear the status of the lawsuit.

‘Given the willful, wanton, and egregious nature of Rush’s conduct, plaintiffs reserve the right to seek to have punitive damages awarded herein,’ the complaint states.

Marc Hagle, asked about the disappearance, told The Daily Beast: ‘My thoughts go out to the owners of OceanGate, the people that are on the submersible, both the crew and the guests.’

Journalist reveals his trip in sub was made of old pipes and operated by PlayStation controller 

CBS correspondent David Pogue has described how the sub had been cobbled together from abandoned pipes and driven by a games console controller.

Mr Pogue – who descended to see the Titanic last year – compared the sub to something put together by MacGyver – the TV series character known for his ingenuity in making devices from random items to get out of difficult situations. 

He told the BBC: ‘There’s no backup, there’s no escape pod – it’s get to the surface or die.’

Recalling the interior of the submersible in November, he described white camping lights on the ceiling, off-the-shelf security cameras, Ziploc bags for a toilet and construction pipes as ballast. 

CBS correspondent David Pogue is seen inside the submersible, which he described as very basic 

The journalist holding up a games controller that is used to control the sub 

Mr Pogue visited the Titanic on board a Titan sub last year 

‘The main center section looks like a shiny white tube about minivan length. It’s made of five inch thick carbon fiber which no one has ever used in a submersible before,’ he told Unsung Science.

‘At each end of the white tube is a tiny silver dome. The front end cap has a 22-inch round window made of seven-inch thick plexiglass so you can see out. When you get to the bottom of the ocean – that’s your view of the Titanic.

‘If you have to go to the bathroom you can crawl into the window end of the sub and hang up a black cloth for privacy. There’s a one foot square box on the floor that contains Ziploc bags.

‘There are a couple of touchscreen PC monitors on the floor of the sub but there are no controls. The multi-million sub is controlled with a games controller.’ 

Mr Pogue said it would be impossible for those inside it now to escape without help.

Friend of billionaire on board the missing sub says he pulled out of joining him due to safety concerns

A thrill-seeker who intended to join his missing billionaire friend Hamish Harding on the sub pulled out of the dive because he thought OceanGate was ‘cutting too many corners’.

Chris Brown, 61, had paid the deposit to go on the doomed voyage, but says he changed his mind after becoming concerned by the quality of technology and materials used in the vessel, The Sun reported.

Among his concerns were OceanGate’s use of ‘old scaffolding poles’ for the ballast and the fact that its controls were ‘based on computer game-style controllers’. 

He told the newspaper that despite being ‘one of the first people to sign up for this trip’, he ultimately decided the ‘risks were too high’.

Mr Brown added that he feels ‘really upset about Hamish’, who is among the five passengers on the submersible that are still missing.

Chris Brown (pictured with Sir Richard Branson) pulled out of the dive because he thought OceanGate was ‘cutting too many corners’, it has emerged

He is worried for his friend, but says Hamish Harding (pictured) is not the panicking type

Mr Brown and Mr Harding signed up for the then-£80,000 voyage after sharing a ‘few beers’ while holidaying on Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island.

The pair paid the 10 per cent deposit for the trip, which has since more than doubled in price, while the Titan was still being developed, he claimed.

But Mr Brown alleged that in the years that followed, he learned OceanGate had ‘missed key targets’ when depth-testing the submersible.

The multi-millionaire digital marketing tycoon found it concerning that the vessel was controlled by a modified PlayStation controller.

He told The Sun: ‘I found out they used old scaffolding poles for the sub’s ballast.

‘If you’re trying to build your own submarine you could probably use old scaffold poles. But this was a commercial craft.’

Mr Brown, who says he is ‘not one to shy away from risk’, eventually emailed OceanGate and asked for a refund.

Simpsons writer reveals the waiver he signed listed ‘three way to die on page one’ and that he is ‘not optimistic’ about a rescue mission 

Mike Reiss had previously traveled on the now missing sub and said he prepared himself to never get off the vessel after he signed a waiver which listed ‘three ways to die on page one’.

Mr Reiss was one of just a handful of people who have ever been on the exclusive expedition to the bottom of the ocean, joining a crew on OceanGate Inc’s sub last year to tour the doomed ship.

He said of the five passengers currently on Titan: ‘I just feel for these people, my hopes are with them. I am not optimistic, I know how tiny the vessel is and how huge the ocean is’.

Mike Reiss, who was a producer and writer on The Simpsons, revealed that he is ‘not optimistic’ about the rescue of the five passengers on the Titan sub 

‘I got on the sub and at the back of my mind was “well, I may never get off this thing,” that’s always with you,’ he added.

Speaking to the BBC today, Mr Reiss revealed he has been on three separate dives including the one to the Titanic and that each had ‘lost communication’.

He also detailed the experience of being onboard the submersible, which tourists fork out $250,000 to travel on to the wreckage.

‘The experience going down was very relaxing, it’s a beautifully-designed submarine that feels almost spa-like on the inside. So even though there’s five people just sitting on the floor of something that’s about the size of a minivan it’s very comfortable.

‘I fell asleep on the way down – it’s 2.5 hours of just dropping in the very quiet and there is a porthole but all you see is blackness.’

He said even though they made it to within 500 meters of the Titanic, the sub had to spend ‘a good 90 minutes just doing a random walk on the bottom of the ocean, just flailing around and trying to find the biggest boat in the world’.

The passengers on his expedition only had a short amount of time to see what he described as the ‘highlights’ of the world-famous wreck.

The company has taken tourists to the site since 2021, and Mr Reiss was one of a number of groups who made the perilous journey last year. 

‘This is why I have this sympathy for the people on board the sub, that they’re not panicking, that they knew what they were getting into.’ 

Discovery TV host said that the vessel ‘did not perform well’ when he went on a dive aboard the sub 

Josh Gates tweeted that he had been on the missing sub when it ‘did not perform well’.

Gates, who presents Expedition Unknown on the Discovery Channel also said that there is more to the ‘history and design’ of Titan that has not been revealed yet. 

He said: ‘To those asking, Titan did not perform well on my dive. Ultimately, I walked away from a huge opportunity to film Titanic due to my safety concerns with OceanGate. 

‘There’s more to the history and design of Titan that has not been made public – much of it concerning.’

Gates also said: ‘I had the unique opportunity to dive in the Titan sub with Stockton at the helm in preparation for its maiden mission to Titanic.

‘I pray for a positive outcome to the rescue efforts of those aboard, including fellow Explorers Club member Hamish Harding.’

Gates is pictured on the left aboard the Titan with Stockton Rush at the helm of the vessel as well as a cameraman 

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