OceanGate Suspends Operations After Deadly Implosion
AT SEA - (----EDITORIAL USE ONLY â" MANDATORY CREDIT - " OCEANGATE/ HANDOUT" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS----) An undated photo shows tourist submersible belongs to OceanGate begins to descent at a sea. Search and rescue operations continue by US Coast Guard in Boston after a tourist submarine bound for the Titanic's wreckage site went missing off the southeastern coast of Canada.
Photo by Ocean Gate / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

OceanGate announced Thursday that it is suspending operations after its Titan submersible imploded last month during a tour of the Titanic, killing all five people on board.

“OceanGate has suspended all exploration and commercial operations,” the company said in a banner on its website.

The company, founded over a decade ago, gained international notoriety last month after its Titan submersible lost all communications after about 1 hour and 45 minutes into its descent to view the wreckage of the Titanic.

Five years before the tragedy occured, an expert pilot for OceanGate reportedly warned of his concern that the company’s CEO, Stockton Rush, “kills himself and others in the quest to boost his ego.”

David Lochridge, a submersible pilot and engineer who had served in Great Britain’s Royal Navy and worked all over the world, had expressed reservations about the design and build of OceanGate’s submersible, but his concerns were reportedly dismissed. He found numerous problems with the vessel, including the carbon-fiber hull having “very visible signs of delamination and porosity,” the glue for ballast bags coming off, sealing faces with errant plunge holes, and O-ring grooves whose design was not standard, among many others, The New Yorker reported. When Lochridge brought up his concerns at a company meeting, he was fired.

“I would consider myself pretty ballsy when it comes to doing things that are dangerous, but that sub is an accident waiting to happen,” Lochridge wrote to Rob McCallum, who co-founded a company called Eyos Expeditions and had taken tourists to the Titanic years before. “There’s no way on earth you could have paid me to dive the thing. … I don’t want to be seen as a Tattle tale but I’m so worried he kills himself and others in the quest to boost his ego.”

OceanGate’s director of finance and administration said in the interview that she could not work for Rush and so she quit as soon as she found another job.

“I could not work for Stockton,” she said, claiming that he had asked her to take over as chief submersible pilot. “I did not trust him. It freaked me out that he would want me to be head pilot, since my background is in accounting.” She noted that several of the engineers for the company were in their late teens and early twenties.

Hank Berrien contributed to this report. 

This is a breaking news story; refresh the page for updates. 

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