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The five people who perished aboard the OceanGate submersible were likely aware of their impending implosion between 48 and 71 seconds before it occurred, according to an expert who likened the scenario to a “horror movie.”
Spanish engineer and underwater expert José Luis Martín offered a timeline for the doomed Titan’s final moments before it was destroyed June 18 — less than two hours on its dive to the Titanic shipwreck.
“During the controlled immersion of the Titan, there must have been an electrical fault, which left the craft without thrust,” he told the Spanish news outlet NIUS, according to the English language Diario AS.
“Without thrust, the weight of the passengers and the pilot (about 400 kilograms), which was focused on the front end close to the view port, would have disrupted the Titan’s longitudinal stability,” Martín explained.
He said he believes the deadly malfunction occurred at a depth of about 5,500 feet.
“At this point, the submersible begins to fall headlong towards the seafloor, and with control and safety functions damaged it can no longer be maneuvered,” Martín theorized in his report.
“The pilot (OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush) couldn’t activate the emergency lever to drop weights (and return to the surface),” the expert said, adding that the lever was an inadequate device for such an emergency.
“The Titan changes position and falls like an arrow vertically, because the 400 kilos (880 pounds) of passengers that were at the porthole unbalance the submersible,” he wrote.
“Everyone rushes and crowds on top of each other. Imagine the horror, the fear and the agony. It had to be like a horror movie,” added the expert, who believes that everything happened between 48 and 71 seconds of free fall.
During that time, the group was aware of the gravity of the situation, he said.