Just days after it was learned that the OceanGate submersible imploded, killing five, photos emerged of CEO Stockton Rush testing the vehicle years ago, according to Fox News. In one chilling image, the 61-year-old could be seen peering out of the vessel’s porthole while underwater.
The photos, taken in May 2018 in the Bahamas by Becky Kagan Schott, were obtained by Fox News. They include Rush standing next to the 21-foot vehicle on the deck of a ship and testing out the equipment inside. Schott, who befriended the adventurer, confirmed that Rush would inspect and test the submersible multiple times in the area.
The Titan was designed to dive about 4,000 meters deep, or about 2.5 miles, which is around how deep the wreckage of the Titanic is. On its Sunday trip to visit the underwater landmark, the sub reportedly disappeared, and debris was found four days later.
The story captivated the U.S. and a search immediately ensued in search of the vehicle. Various theories developed. Some outlets reported that the U.S. Navy heard banging underwater, suggesting that the crewmembers were still alive but trapped. Others reported that the Titan’s implosion was detected by the Navy hours after it departed for its journey.
While the Navy could not reportedly confirm that the sound heard was the missing submersible, they used that information to eventually find its wreckage. A senior Navy official reportedly told the Wall Street Journal that a sound consistent with an implosion or explosion was heard in the area of the Titan when communication was lost.
Many were quick to note that this news was not released until Thursday, four days after the Navy suspected the submersible imploded. Conservatives were quick to suggest that the Biden administration had deliberately withheld the information until Thursday because that was the day of his son’s plea deal.