The Titanic-bound submersible suffered a “catastrophic implosion,” killing all five people on board, the US Coast Guard said Thursday. A remotely operated vehicle found parts of the sub about 1,600 feet from the bow of the shipwreck, officials said.
“The U.S. Coast Guard has declared the loss of the Titan submersible to be a major marine casualty and will lead the investigation,” the NTSB tweeted. “The NTSB has joined the investigation and will contribute to their efforts. The USCG is handling all media inquiries related to this investigation.”
Monday, my kids were over for dinner, and they were stressed about the fate of the Oceangate crew. I had to tell them that more than likely, there was some form of failure and the small vessel was probably crushed. The Titanic is 12,000 ft below the surface, the weight and pressure would crush the submarine like an empty beer can.
Apparently, that is what happened.
The loss of life is always sad, but in reality, there are almost 8 billion people in the world–on an average day, 150,000 die–should we be sad for the crew of the submarine?
Some of my best friends are world-class rock climbers and mountaineers. One thing I learned from them is that when you engage in dangerous activities, you have to assume the risk–when things go south, you could die. Climbing K2 may be an adrenaline rush, but the Karakoram range is littered with the bodies of those that have succumbed to the rock and ice and storm and abyss.
The debate is still happening within the climber community–how much money and effort should be expended on rescue missions when climbers get in over their heads and are stranded on remote rock faces?
Taking a private sub 12,000 feet below the surface may sound great, but assessing and assuming the risk associated with an endeavor like this is a personal decision that individuals must make based on their own abilities, experience, and understanding of the potential hazards involved.
Apparently, the CEO of the sub did not want old white men over fifty to be part of the crew because they were not ‘inspiring’. Maybe an old grizzled submariner with military experience could have explained and accurately assessed the risk involved in taking a relatively untested commercial vehicle to those depths–he may have been able to explain to those that were paying for the adventure just what they were really getting into.
Assuming the risk associated with dangerous sports like mountain climbing requires careful consideration, informed decision-making, adequate training, and an understanding of personal limitations, and in this case, the limitations of the submersible craft. While these dangerous activities offer unique challenges and rewards, individuals must prioritize safety, risk management, and responsible decision-making to minimize the potential hazards– and get their affairs in order before they depart.