A 2022 voyage to the wreck of the Titanic was anything but smooth last year when CBS journalist David Pogue made the trip, with the vessel getting lost once on the ocean floor.
Although his dive on the submersible Titan made it to the famous wreck in the end, he recorded some of the complications along the way for a 2022 episode of “CBS Sunday Morning.”
The submersible went to explore the wreck once again on Sunday but has not been heard from since. On Tuesday, CNN reported that the U.S. Navy is sending what it calls the “Flyaway Deep Ocean Salvage System” to help in the search efforts.
The FADOSS is a “motion compensated lift system designed to provide reliable deep ocean lifting capacity for the recovery of large, bulky, and heavy undersea objects such as aircraft or small vessels,” a representative said. The Navy says the equipment can lift an object as heavy as 60,000 pounds.
The equipment is expected to arrive in Newfoundland overnight, as Coast Guard officials said Tuesday the crew had about 40 hours of oxygen left.
When Pogue went for his dive, the first attempt was canceled because of strong winds and waves, which led venture organizers to propose a dive to the Continental Shelf.
“The crew closes the hatch, from the outside, with 17 bolts. There’s no other way out,” he said.
“Here’s how the launch is supposed to go: The sub is attached to a huge floating platform. Motorboats drag it down the big orange ramp into the sea.”
“The platform submerges to about 30 feet, where the water is much calmer than on the surface… Divers detach the sub from the platform … and away you go!” he said.
But reality interfered.
“Our dive in the OceanGate submersible had made it down only 37 feet when [floats came off the platform],” Pogue said.
That led to his dive being scrubbed.
Passenger Renata Rojas had been philosophical about the mishap.
“Every expedition has its challenges, all of them. I have not been in one expedition where things haven’t had to be adjusted, adapted, changed or canceled at the end of the day. You’re at the mercy of the weather,” she said.
On his sixth day at sea, the weather cleared. “The dive was a go!” he said.
But the good news got murky, as Pogue explained
“There’s no GPS underwater, so the surface ship is supposed to guide the sub to the shipwreck by sending text messages,” he said.
But on this dive, communications somehow broke down. The sub never found the wreck.
“We were lost,” submersible passenger Shrenik Baldota said. “We were lost for two-and-a-half hours.”
On the final day out at sea, Pogue was able to film shots of the fabled wreck.
Stockton Rush, CEO of OceanGate Expeditions, the company that owns the submersible, was on the missing vessel, according to NBC.
“Every time I go deeper, the experience gets cooler and cooler,” Rush said in an interview with Smithsonian. “At the very bottom of the ocean, there must be a bunch of octopuses playing chess, wondering why it’s taken us so long to get there.”
In that interview, he offered his opinion on U.S. government safety regulations for tourist submersibles.
“There hasn’t been an injury in the commercial sub industry in over 35 years. It’s obscenely safe, because they have all these regulations. But it also hasn’t innovated or grown — because they have all these regulations,” he said then.
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