Titan passenger’s stepson says he was ‘fearless’
The stepson of Titanic expert Paul-Henri Nargeolet has described the French sub pilot as “fearless” and a “warm burst of energy”.
John Paschall said he feels like he’s been “living a nightmare” in the past few days.
He told Sky News: “As you can probably imagine, to me I feel like I’ve been living a nightmare. Just every day, every bit of info, you hang on to it – from noises to other info and we were just so hopeful.
“And I think that’s what was carrying us through the early stages and even into Thursday morning.
“We were just so hopeful that with the right equipment [getting] there they’d be able to find the Titan intact with them in there and they’d still be here with us.”
Mr Nargeolet was an experienced sub pilot and had taken numerous trips to the wreck before.
He was a former commander who served in the French Navy for 25 years and was one of five who died on board the OceanGate submersible.
An undersea explorer has criticised Titan’s fundamental design and explained what he thinks went wrong with the submersible.
Victor Vescovo told Sky News that the use of a combination of dissimilar materials is “very difficult to manage” and can “induce stress fractures”.
He criticised OceanGate’s lack of certification by outside experts and said that “they didn’t think they needed to” be certified but that “no else agreed”.
Speaking about Titan’s materials and design, Mr Vescovo said: “I think the fundamental design of the submersible which is a combination of materials, titanium and carbon fibre – any engineer will tell you that using dissimilar materials under extremely heavy loads is very difficult to manage.
“And over time, it can induce stress fractures and problems. Then there’s simply the matter of being able to fund the exhaustive testing that is necessarily to commercial rate a submersible.”
He said he had spent money and time to commercially rate his submersible.
Other experts in the field have also criticised OceanGate’s strategy and the design of the Titan submersible, raising concerns over safety and regulation.
An undersea explorer who was friends with two Titan passengers says they both expressed concerns before the trip.
Victor Vescovo, who friends with British billionaire Hamish Harding and Titanic expert Paul-Henri Nargeolet, told Sky News that the two passengers asked for his opinion on whether they should go.
When asked whether he had spoken to them prior to the trip, Mr Vescovo said: “Absolutely, there was a common point of discussion within the community about the design risks of the submersible that they were going on. They asked for my opinion and I said I wouldn’t get in that sub.
“But we all in the community had concerns and unfortunately those turned out to be true.”
Mr Vescovo also pointed out how rare fatalities in commercial submersible operations are and said this was “a different submersible and a different team” who “pushed the boundaries of safety too far”.
He said the absence of fatalities is because those that operate in this sphere have “adhered to extremely strict safety protocols and standards and testing and we religiously follow”.
“But this was a different submersible and a different team and I think they thought they were advancing the state of the art and doing some interesting things, but I think they pushed the boundaries of safety too far and that’s been evidenced by what happened”.
Mr Harding and Mr Nargeolet were among the five men who died on Titan.
A remotely operated vehicle is being sent down to the debris site currently, Pelagic Research Services has said.
The Odysseus 6 remotely operated vehicle – which first discovered the “debris field” of the submersible – began its mission in late morning local time and will take about an hour to reach the location.
It’s the second mission of the Odysseus 6, and is for “continued mapping and documentation of the area and assisting in any direct recovery of debris”.
Spokesperson Jeff Mahoney earlier told CNN that any attempts to recover anything from the debris field would involve a large operation as the pieces would be too heavy for the vehicle to lift by itself.
Any recovery mission would be done alongside Deep Energy, another company assisting with the mission, Mr Mahoney said.
The nondescript building where OceanGate’s operation runs from in Everett, Washington, looks like this today.
The company has come under scrutiny after it was revealed safety concerns had been raised about the Titan vessel.
The cost of the search for the missing Titan submersible will easily stretch into the millions of dollars for the US Coast Guard alone, according to calculations by AP news agency.
The Canadian Coast Guard, US Navy and other agencies and private entities also rushed to provide resources and expertise.
The aircraft alone are expensive to operate.
The Pentagon has put the hourly cost at tens of thousands of dollars for turboprop P-3 Orion and jet-powered P-8 Poseidon sub hunters, along with C-130 Hercules, all utilised in the search.
Some agencies can seek reimbursements.
But the US Coast Guard is generally prohibited by federal law from collecting reimbursements for any search or rescue service, according to Stephen Koerting, a US attorney in Maine who specialises in maritime law.
Rescue agencies don’t want people in distress to be thinking about the cost of a helicopter or other resources when a life is in danger.
Mikki Hastings, president and chief executive of the National Association for Search and Rescue, said: “Every person who is missing – they deserve to be found. That’s the mission regardless of who they are.”
She added that the first priority in search and rescue is always saving a life, and search and rescue agencies budget for such expenses.
Naval historian Norman Polar said there’s no other comparable ocean search, especially with so many countries and even commercial enterprises being involved.
Suleman Dawood’s high school says the former student, who was “always” with a Rubik’s cube in his pocket, “embodied the true spirit of exploration”.
In a tribute to the 19-year-old, who was a passenger on Titan, the ACS International School described Mr Dawood as “a remarkable young man”.
It said Mr Dawood attended joined ACS Cobham in 2014 and graduated in 2022.
The tribute continued: “In his time at school, Suleman was an integral member of the STEM club’s FIRST Lego Robotics Challenge team and pioneered the first Rubik’s Cube Challenge.
“Always with a Rubik’s Cube in his pocket, his curiosity knew no bounds and his enthusiasm for learning was infectious. He held scientific discovery in high regard and was keen to understand problems affecting the world on both a global and local level.
“His kind smile, his warm words of encouragement, and his compelling enthusiasm always filled the classroom.”
The school said it was “deeply saddened” by the news of Mr Dawood’s death and that of his father.
The father and son were members of one of Pakistan’s most prominent families.
Their relationship was described as “a joy to behold” in a earlier tribute from the Dawood family’s company.