Former Titan submersible passenger describes experience onboard

Former Titan submersible passenger describes experience onboard

As crews continued the frantic search for a submersible that went missing while taking five people to the wreckage of the Titanic on Wednesday, a former passenger of the Titan is holding onto hope it will be found.

Early Tuesday morning, the U.S. Coast Guard said a Canadian search plane had detected noises underwater in the search area.

"It's hard to tell what that noise could be," Aaron Newman, who rode the Titan sub in August 2021, told CBS News on Wednesday evening. "We are just hoping with every ounce that we can, that this is somebody on the inside, hitting the side with a wrench or doing something to try to signal, and doing it in a way on a regular basis to make it more obvious that this is a human doing it."

The U.S. Coast Guard said at a briefing Wednesday it was "searching in the area where the noises were detected," but did not know what made them.

Newman said the sounds could have been "a piece of the Titanic banging against something, or an animal making some noise."

Newman, who said he knew several of the passengers aboard the missing Titan, described them as "skilled people" who would try to signal for help.

"You take somebody like P.H. Nargeolet...he's been diving for 60 years," Newman said of the French explorer who has made multiple dives over the years to explore the Titanic. "There is no team better that would be able to handle this scenario than the people aboard this craft right now."

Newman is also an investor in OceanGate Expeditions — the company that owns the Titan submersible. He said "safety was a No. 1 protocol" when preparing for an underwater trip, and passengers would spend "multiple days" learning about the sub's design and the Titanic's history.

"We covered everything from what would happen in a fire, to what would happen if weights didn't drop, what are the backup systems, to communicating in the worst case scenario, so there was a lot of training," he said.

When asked about the interior of the sub, Newman called it "comfortable, but not luxurious."

"There's room to move around, but you're not walking around or anything," he said. "It doesn't have seats or anything like that … it's designed to take people down in the most efficient way possible."

The sub disappeared on Sunday, losing contact with a Canadian research vessel about one hour and 45 minutes into its dive.

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