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Titanic Horror! Tourist Submersible Goes Missing While Attempting to View Wreckage of Titanic.


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From a friend who, if I understand correctly, was on the remote medical team on call for medical questions from the sub, if there had been any.  She's also an explorer, diver, and qualified for suborbital flights as a researcher/astronaut.

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A lot of us in the exploration world are reeling this week as we watch rescue operations unfold in a bid to get to the Titan before time runs out. I know I am. This one really hits home. I wrote this piece in reflection of what it means to operate in extreme and austere environments. HMU if you need to talk.
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Comfortably Uncomfortable: Reflections on Exploration & Dealing with the Tough Stuff
 
“Our objective, as explorers, is to take what we’ve learned, turn our eyes back to where we’ve been…and use the knowledge for the good of humanity.” - Dr. Asha DeVos, explorer and marine scientist
 
Sometimes the threat of impending calamity reverberates to our very cores. This is particularly true when these echoes resonate at a frequency where we have worked to make ourselves comfortably uncomfortable.
 
On Monday, I awoke at ~03h40 and for whatever reason, checked my phone. Bad habit, I know. The news in one of my exploration groups was grim. The submersible Titan had lost comms with its mothership, the Polar Prince, 1 hour and 45 minutes into a 8 day expedition to the RMS Titanic. Hours later, this story would sweep the headlines worldwide, although uncertainty reigned supreme.
 
It’s in moments like these that the stark reality of the dangers of exploration hits you. I know that a lot of us in the exploration community are reeling this week. I certainly haven't been sleeping. This hits so close to home.
 
The reality is that exploration is inherently risky. We are deliberately and willfully removing ourselves from the comforts of, and access to, reliable transportation, 24/7 comms, palatable food, advanced medical care and evacuation capabilities. All too often, we are trusting the integrity of the engineering of our life support systems to keep us alive, keenly aware that sometimes all that is keeping us from a very quick and swift end at the hands of a vast, unforgiving environment is but a few inches of steel construction. This is true in astronautics, ocean exploration, mountaineering, polar expeditions, jungle sojourns…the list goes on. We know this. Many of these environments are so inhospitable to human life that we simply cannot navigate them without relying on the miracle of life support.
 
Within our respective realms as explorers, every one of us has our own stories of preparation, rehearsal, contingencies, and Plans A, B, C…all the way to Z. Every operational environment I have worked in holds its own contingency framework for when things go sideways: skydiving, diving, parabolic flight. Everything. In medicine, we say ‘A-B-C’: airway-breathing-circulation. In aviation, we say ‘A-N-C’: aviate-navigate-communicate. And we drill and drill and drill some more until our contingencies become second nature. And nearly every one of us can recall moments when we have had to call upon contingencies. When Plan A fails, we go to Plan B, or C, say. Sometimes we have to go all the way to Plan J. But we are prepared for that.
 
An air supply line in a spacesuit fails. The oxygen lines in an unpressurized research craft are not properly hooked up. A regulator is knocked out of one’s mouth on a dive. A closed-loop atmosphere becomes uncomfortably hypercarbic. The list goes on. All very real situations - and those are mine alone.
 
I wouldn’t call them “close calls,” however. These are all contingencies for which we have been briefed, have mentally rehearsed, and have physically practiced. We trust our training, experience, intuition, and external sensors to trigger alerts for sub-optimal operating states, which in turn trigger our safety protocols.
 
Heart rate isn’t recovering post activity in a spacesuit? Chest feels tight? Call it in. They say they fixed the problem? Good. Chest still feels tight? Call it in again. A valve wasn’t opened all the way? Open it up. Breathing becomes easy again. Do not proceed until the red light is resolved, no matter how tempting it seems to flit past what could just be an uncomfortable twinge that I am harping on (one never wants to be the squeaky wheel), or how inconvenient it seems to pause operations to deal with a problem.
 
Vision feels funny? Double check that pulse oximetry reading. 65%. Oh hell no. Double check that oxygen line. It’s come unplugged. Plug it back in. Vision gray-out resolved.
 
A teammate, in their exuberance, flings an arm out on a dive…and in so doing, knocks the reg out of my mouth. No problem. Keep breathing out little bubbles, find the reg, pop it back in, clear it, then breathe.
 
“Close calls,” implies that we are millimeters from catastrophic failure, such as mission-ending injury, or even death. We can’t think like that. The truth is, in any extreme environment, we are always millimeters from catastrophic failure. But millimeters…still give us a lot of space. Our job is to turn those millimeters into micrometers, nanometers, picometers even. We must simply think about the next step needed to survive - or at least to unmuck (to put it nicely) the problem. ‘Work the problem,’ as astronaut Chris Hadfield has famously said. And so we must turn those inches into millimeters into space that becomes checklists, actions items, steps, and contingencies upon contingencies. Safety nets upon safety nets.
 
Above all - we learn not to panic. We familiarize ourselves with discomfort, and learn to embrace it. We learn to become comfortably uncomfortable.
 
We can ease ourselves into it, by somehow trying to grasp the magnitude of the hostility that yearns to engulf us. On my first ocean night dive, I turned off my light a few minutes in (of course keeping track of my teammates nearby) to try to fathom how truly dark it was. Immediately, I was enveloped in expansive blackness. Black, black, black. Nothing else. Cold and claustrophobic yet somehow vast and infinite at the same time. Combined with the weightlessness of neutral buoyancy, I could equally be lost in space, sightless, weightless, and floating forever. ‘You’re lost forever! Should we panic?’ asked my brain, ‘No, we should turn the light back on and rejoin the team.’
Another time, in a cave in Hungary, we were given the option of snaking through a barely-large enough human sized hole…or walking around. Of course I chose the hole. I’m not a big person…yet I still barely made it through, filling the entirety of the gap. ‘You’re stuck! Should we panic?’ asked my brain, ‘No we were told this hole is passable. We wriggle through, a little at a time. Millimeter by millimeter. Micrometer by micrometer.’
 
I sometimes go through this thought exercise on airplanes too, on long-haul red-eyes, when the rest of the plane is asleep, silent, and I am leaning up against the cabin wall, focusing on the reality that there are only several inches between me and the icy, raging jetstream outside. Trust the engineering of the aircraft to keep us safe -and airborne!. Billions of us, in fact, have learned to be uncomfortably comfortable with air travel.
 
Our job, operating in extreme environments, is to turn millimeters into miles and create buffers and contingencies - create space - for ourselves so that we can operate where most would say no space exists. In exploration, we acknowledge risk, mitigate it, train for it, and trust our engineering - and our fallback plans.
 
But sometimes those razor-thin margins fail, and the worst-case scenario occurs. And when this happens, the impact is devastating, with the shockwaves echoing through the exploration community. Our community is a small one and regardless of our particular flavor of operation - ocean, space, polar, aerial, jungle - the faces are few and familiar.
 
I was a medical student rotating through at NASA’s Johnson Space Center on an aerospace medicine elective the first time I experienced the deep and lingering impacts of an exploration tragedy. It was 9 years after the Columbia accident had claimed the lives of seven brave astronauts, and I could still feel the echoes of sorrow, horror, and “how could this have been avoided,” in the dedicated Shuttle accident investigation talks and debriefings we were privy to. There was resolution, yes, that this would never happen again, but also a lingering sadness that still permeated the daily lives of the men and women at NASA who had called the Columbia crew friends, colleagues, family. In that rotation, I metamorphosed from a starry-eyed, space-enamored teenager who had listened in horror at the live reporting on the radio in February 2003 to a member of the space exploration community who internalized those impacts. To this day, I find talks on the subject difficult, having worked within this community, knowing what those explorers must have experienced - and what their surviving support team continues to experience. Tragedies like this stay with you.
 
With Titan, on the precipice of a dwindling window of time for a best-possible outcome, I - and many of my exploration colleagues - find ourselves at a similar point, once again. Intellectually, we know the inherent risks of what we do. Emotionally, we just want it to be okay. In less rational moments, I text my friend aboard the submersible. I hope to God you’re okay. Some day, maybe we’ll laugh about that time you were out of comms at the bottom of the ocean for an ungodly amount of time. [Message undelivered.] He is an explorer through and through, and is no stranger to extreme and austere environments. He can handle himself. But…sometimes our greatest preparations are no match for the uncapitulating and unapologetic reality of nature. Behind the scenes, in the exploration community, we continue to check in with each other, try to find the words to express the dread of what we are feeling…and above all, we try to maintain hope.
 
In our various arenas of trail-blazing, we learn to make peace with being uncomfortable. We do so in the name of pushing the limits of human knowledge, beating back the bounds of ignorance, gathering previously unknown data and samples, striving to expand perspectives, and gaining experiences that we may in turn bring back to the rest of the world for survival application, knowledge, and advancement of humanity as whole. Fellow explorer & renowned environmentalist Bertrand Piccard summed it up beautifully when he said, “our duty, as explorers, is to serve.” We do so by embracing life as comfortably uncomfortable in the pursuit of the great and the unfathomable. Weeks like this still - and always will - hurt. But perhaps in times like this, once we have done all we possibly can, we can, as Alexandre Dumas once wrote in The Count of Monte Cristo, “wait and hope.”

 

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13 minutes ago, SpaceChampion said:

From a friend who, if I understand correctly, was on the remote medical team on call for medical questions from the sub, if there had been any.  She's also an explorer, diver, and qualified for suborbital flights as a researcher/astronaut.

 

That sounds a bit like apologia for Stockton Rush.  That man and his company, in my opinion, were criminally reckless.  The pure hubris they demonstrated in this tragedy is terrifying.

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8 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

That sounds a bit like apologia for Stockton Rush.  That man and his company, in my opinion, were criminally reckless.  The pure hubris they demonstrated in this tragedy is terrifying.

You'd think gross negligence would void a fully informed waiver.

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19-year-old Titan passenger was ‘terrified’ before trip, his aunt says
Azmeh Dawood, the older sister of Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood, said her nephew was reluctant to go on the Titan expedition.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/titanic-submersible-shahwood-suleman-family-tragedy-rcna90678

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.... But the 19-year-old ended up going aboard OceanGate's 22-foot submersible because the trip fell over Father's Day weekend and he was eager to please his dad, who was passionate about the lore of the Titanic, according to Azmeh. .....

Again we see very rich men of whatever persuasion are shithheads.

 

Edited by Zorral
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1 hour ago, williamjm said:

I saw this video clip where James Cameron is scathing about the recklessness of the Titan

You know, this is what someone who knows how what he’s doing sounds like. I think the Chapo Trap House guys are one hundred percent right about this: James Cameron is a legit fucking genius. Like, a once in a generation genius. If he wasn’t a film maker he’d be curing cancer or being a literal emperor of someplace wonderful. 

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Anyone notice that at the tail end of the presser that one reporter that shouted the question about, “recovering the bodies”? What fucking bodies? There are no bodies. Those clowns would have been liquefied the moment the sub imploded. Jesus.

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31 minutes ago, JGP said:

You'd think gross negligence would void a fully informed waiver.

Signing a waiver is not a guarantee that the company is off the hook. It all depends on the wording of the waiver, and the situation.

Courts in Ontario for example have voided waivers when they found that the company/person seeking benefit from the waiver did not take the reasonable steps and precautions to ensure the safety of the participants.

For example, in a situation like this, if the claimants could prove that the company was aware of design flaws, lack of safety inspection/consideration, ignoring expert/ engineer advice etc. then to me that would be a big step in demonstrating that they failed in their duty and help them to win a civil claim.

The waiver assumes that participants are fully aware of the risks, and if the company is selling them the idea that the submarine is cutting edge, safe, etc. then despite the waiver maybe saying the opposite, that works against the company. This is especially true if they knowingly acted negligently.

Edited by Lord of Oop North
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14 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

I’m not convinced the passengers were “fully informed”.

True like they’ weren’t actual experts. Like when charting a plane most passengers take it as a given the company would do the proper safety checks, doubly so if the ceo of the company is coming on.

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23 minutes ago, Lord of Oop North said:

For example, in a situation like this, if the claimants could prove that the company was aware of design flaws, lack of safety inspection/consideration, ignoring expert/ engineer advice etc. then to me that would be a big step in demonstrating that they failed in their duty and help them to win a civil claim.

The fact, according to Cameron’s interview, that experts in the field wrote to the company about safety concerns; qualifies. 

Does anyone know how many dives this thing did before this incident?

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Oceangate saying this was not great

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In an unsigned 2019 blog post titled “Why Isn’t Titan Classed?,” the company made similar arguments. OceanGate said in the post that because its Titan craft was so innovative, it could take years to get it certified by the usual assessment agencies. “Bringing an outside entity up to speed on every innovation before it is put into real-world testing is anathema to rapid innovation,” the company wrote.

 

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58 minutes ago, Zorral said:

19-year-old Titan passenger was ‘terrified’ before trip, his aunt says
Azmeh Dawood, the older sister of Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood, said her nephew was reluctant to go on the Titan expedition.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/titanic-submersible-shahwood-suleman-family-tragedy-rcna90678

Again we see very rich men of whatever persuasion are shithheads.

 

Literally nothing in that article points to the father pressuring or even knowing his son didn't want to go. 

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That's not the way it reads to others, or seemed to his aunt, did it?

Also Oceanside got a half billion covid loan, which was 'forgiven.'

Tell us again how nobody in the world uses 'cis' to describe themselves ....

Edited by Zorral
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https://www.nytimes.com/2023/06/20/us/oceangate-titanic-missing-submersible.html

 

I am posting this article because it includes a link to a pdf of a letter from the Martine Technology Society to the CEO of Oceangate warning him of potential catastrophe.

 

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Your marketing material advertises that the TITAN design will meet or exceed the DNV-GL safety
standards, yet it does not appear that Oceangate has the intention of following DNV- GL class rules. Your representation is, at minimum, misleading to the public and breaches an industry- wide professional code of conduct we all endeavor to uphold.

 A disturbing excert from the letter.

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23 minutes ago, Deadlines? What Deadlines? said:

Fuck.

 

Clearly, the passengers on the submersible were notorious critics of the the Federal Reserve. The Titantic itself was sunk by the Illuminati for just this reason and also to seal up one of the entrances to Agartha and the Inner Earth with the wreackage of the ocean liner.

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36 minutes ago, Madame deVenoge said:

I think that there’s a difference because of the fact that if you’re on the surface, you have a chance. If you’re 2 miles under the sea, not so much - also the fact that boats and ships sail every day, and many people have themselves sailed or been a passenger on a boat or a ship. 

On a submersible? Not so much.

That depends on a lot of things.
 

1) Many people don’t necessarily know how to swim. That’s especially true for those coming from developing countries. 

2) In an overcrowded environment, it’s very easy to get trampled (like stampedes).

3) Depending on how the ship sank, the people could have been crushed by heavy machinery. 
 

 

In an ideal scenario, both of these incidents would be given the proper care that they deserve, so that all those lives could be preserved. 

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