Doomed Titanic Submersible CEO Foreshadowed Fate Weeks Before the Mission

Last June the world was gripped by the story of the missing Titan submersible, which lost contact shortly into an expedition to explore the sunken wreckage of the Titanic. After several harrowing days, rescue crews confirmed the worst: that the submersible had imploded, killing all five passengers onboard.

The ill-fated mission is now the subject of a new two-part documentary, Minute by Minute: The Titan Sub Disaster, which will air March 6 and 7 on Channel 5 in the U.K. And among the revelations is the fact that OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush—who was onboard the submersible when it disappeared—exhibited a pretty laissez faire attitude in an interview just weeks before the dive, according to the Daily Mail.

In the resurfaced clip, which was conducted by the Canadian radio program St. John's Radio, Rush told the interviewer that his company had decided to launch the Titan submarine in June as the waters around the shipwreck were apparently the "calmest" time of the year. At some point, he reportedly even joked: "What could go wrong?"

In addition to Rush, the four other passengers who died included British billionaire Hamish Harding, French Navy pilot Paul-Henry Nargeolet, Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood, and his 19-year-old son, Sulaiman Dawood.

"So with the Polar Prince [vessel that carried the submarine out to sea], that ice capability we thought, let's move the mission a little earlier this year," Rush continued, adding that the submersible had been specifically designed for the mission.

The documentary filmmakers likewise spoke with Dik Barton, former vice president of RMS Titanic Inc., a company dedicated to preserving the memory of the Titanic that owns more than 5,500 artifacts recovered from the wreck site. Barton surmised how horrible those last moments must have been for the five passengers.

"The focus of both Stockton and [Nargeolet] would've been trying to gain some control of the submersible, trying to recover some height and getting the vessel stable and back to surface," Barton explained. "The fear that would generate, I can't even comprehend. The last little while, I think would've been absolutely torturous."

A week after rescue crews ceased efforts, the U.S. Coast Guard said that "presumed human remains" had been found at the wreckage site near the bow of the Titanic. Rescuers also identified five major pieces of the submarine, including the sub's porthole with its window missing, the landing frame, and the end equipment bay.