A former pilot of the ill-fated Titan submersible lost control of the vessel during a previous dive — causing the sub to start spinning in circles as terrified passengers were stuck on board for hours.
Footage taken inside the submersible shows the vehicle spinning out of control, leading pilot Scott Griffith to say, “We have a problem,” as the five-person crew dove 12,500 feet below sea level.
The crew was 300 meters from the Titanic’s ruins when the Titan’s thrusters began to malfunction, the clip from the 2022 BBC documentary revealed.
“There’s something wrong with my thrusters. I’m thrusting and nothing is happening,” Griffith can be heard saying, according to the Mirror.
The BBC’s documentary is not available for viewing within the US.
One of the Titan’s thrusters had allegedly been mounted improperly, causing one to propel the sub in one direction while the other pushed it in the opposite direction and ultimately making the Titan spin in circles.
The documentary revealed terrified crew members had to wait for hours while OceanGate’s CEO Stockton Rush worked to fix the issue from the mother ship.
“You know what I was thinking, we’re not going to make it,” passenger Reneta Rojas told the BBC. “We’re literally 300m (600 feet) from the Titanic, and although we are already in the debris field, we can’t go anywhere but go in circles.”
Footage showed an anxious Rojas putting her head in her hands as the crew worked to reprogram the video game control that managed the vessel’s movement.
“We were just so happy we had figured out how to move forward,” Rojas said. “We started clapping inside the submersible and saying ‘Yes we can go.’”
Fortunately, Rojas and the rest of the crew were safely able to view the Titanic’s wreckage during that same dive.
“I was thinking, oh no, don’t tell me that we are 300m away from the Titanic and we are going to have to go up to the surface,” another passenger, Oisin Fanning, said, according to the Daily Mail.
The same crew was warned ahead of the dive — as they were being drilled into the sub — that the submersible was “experimental” and dangerous.
The documentary’s videographer, Jaden Pan, spoke of the dive’s dangers, including how passengers were bolted inside, as part of the film.
“The dome slowly closes in front of me. I have this moment of ‘this is the point of no return’. I’m not claustrophobic by any means but at that moment I was like if there was any point to freak out, now would be the point to freak out,” Pan said.
When the 2022 documentary crew emerged from the water, Rush dismissed the crew’s concerns about the thruster malfunction, telling them, “almost every deep-sea sub makes a noise at some point.”
In a separate interview published in the same documentary, Rush admitted that he had “broken some rules” while creating the submersible.
Rush faced intense criticism after the disaster for seemingly ignoring major safety concerns, as he had been cautioned by various submersible experts long before the sub’s final dive.
The company’s CEO died when the Titan imploded during a June 18 voyage. Along with Rush, 61, British billionaire Hamish Harding, 58, famed Titanic explorer Paul-Henri Nargeolet, 77, prominent Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood, 48, and his 19-year-old son, Sulaiman Dawood, also died.
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