OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, the owner and pilot of the doomed Titan sub, had offered millionaire Jay Bloom and his son discounted tickets to ride on it, and claimed it was safer than crossing the street, a Facebook post from Bloom said. The sub suffered a “catastrophic implosion” on its dive to view the Titanic earlier this week, killing Rush and the other four people on board.

On Thursday, just hours after the Coast Guard announced that the wreckage of the sub had been found, Bloom, a Las Vegas investor, revealed texts he had exchanged with Rush in the months leading up to the trip. 

In one text conversation in late April, Rush reduced the price of the tickets from $250,000 to $150,000 per person to ride the submersible on a trip scheduled for May. As Bloom contemplated the offer, his son Sean raised safety concerns over the sub, while Rush — who once said he’d “broken some rules” in its design — tried to assure them. 

“While there’s obviously risk it’s way safer than flying a helicopter or even scuba diving,” Rush wrote, according to a screen shot of the text exchange posted by Bloom. 

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Bloom said that in a previous in-person meeting with Rush, they’d discussed the dive and its safety.

“I am sure he really believed what he was saying. But he was very wrong,” Bloom wrote, adding, “He was absolutely convinced that it was safer than crossing the street.”

Titanic-Tourist Sub
This photo provided by OceanGate Expeditions shows the submersible vessel named Titan used to visit the wreckage site of the Titanic. 

OceanGate Expeditions via AP

Ultimately, the May trip was delayed until Father’s Day weekend in June, and Bloom decided not to go. 

“I told him that due to scheduling we couldn’t go until next year,” Bloom wrote. “Our seats went to Shahzada Dawood and his 19 year old son, Suleman Dawood, two of the other three who lost their lives on this excursion (the fifth being Hamish Harding).”

Bloom wasn’t the only one who backed out of the trip. Chris Brown, a friend of Harding and self-described “modern explorer,” told CNN earlier this week he decided to not go because it “seemed to have too many risks out of my control” and didn’t come across as a “professional diving operation.” David Concannon, an Idaho-based attorney and a consultant for OceanGate Expeditions, said over Facebook that he canceled due to an “urgent client matter.” 

See also  Investigators search for answers following Titan sub implosion

The U.S. Coast Guard said it would continue its investigation of the debris from the sub, found near the Titanic shipwreck site, to try to determine more about how and when it imploded. 

Industry experts and a former employee’s lawsuit had raised serious safety concerns about OceanGate’s operation years before the sub’s disappearance. In 2018, a professional trade group warned that OceanGate’s experimental approach to the design of the Titan could lead to potentially “catastrophic” outcomes, according to a letter from the group obtained by CBS News. 

“Titanic” director James Cameron, an experienced deep-sea explorer who has been to the wreckage site more than 30 times, said that “OceanGate shouldn’t have been doing what it was doing.” 

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