September 30, 2023

(NewsNation) — The co-founder of OceanGate Expeditions says the now-deceased CEO was a “diligent engineer,” rejecting any notions that Stockton Rush’s practices had been accountable for an organization submersible imploding within the Atlantic Ocean.

Guillermo Sohnlein, who left the corporate ten years in the past after serving to create it in 2009, mentioned his former enterprise associate was not a threat taker, however a threat supervisor.

“If something, he was totally dedicated to security,” Sohnlein mentioned Thursday on “Elizabeth Vargas Stories.”

OceanGate Expeditions confirmed Thursday that particles discovered close to the Titanic is from the vacationer submersible Titan, which disappeared on a dive to go to the wreck of the Titanic with 5 individuals on board, together with Rush. All 5 are believed to be useless.

Rear Adm. Jon Mauger with the First Coast Guard District confirmed the findings in a information convention.

“The particles is in step with a catastrophic lack of the strain chamber,” Mauger mentioned.

Sohnlein partnered with Rush on OceanGate to “open up the oceans for all of humanity,” he mentioned. The objective was to discover and protect the oceans.

“I do know that’s the one factor that basically drove Stockton all through your complete time doing OceanGate,” Sohnlein mentioned.

After the submersible went lacking, particulars surfaced about presumably security issues that arose concerning the vessel throughout its improvement and dives. A former worker sued the corporate in 2018 alleging the craft wasn’t able to withstanding deep depths, and one former passenger likened his expedition in 2021 to a suicide mission.

Sohnlein dismissed characterizations of Stockton as somebody who skirted security protocols.

“Opposite to how some of us and social media and on-line have been portraying him, he was not a threat taker. He was very a lot a threat supervisor,” Sohnlein mentioned.

The particles that searchers discovered Thursday included the tail cone from the submersible in addition to the entrance finish bell from the strain hull. In a second particles subject, they situated the opposite finish of the strain hull. When requested if there was a chance of recovering the our bodies of the passengers, officers mentioned they had been unable to say at the moment however would proceed looking out.

“I’ve spent the previous two or three days getting ready myself for this type of consequence, however actually listening to the Coast Guard press convention, the finality of their findings remains to be troublesome to cope with,” Sohnlein mentioned. “I can’t even think about what the households of the crew are going by way of or what the staff members at OceanGate are going by way of after spending these previous 4 days attempting to to search out and rescue their teammates.”

The Titan was one among solely a handful of vessels able to diving so deep into the ocean, a part of what made the rescue effort so difficult.

The Coast Guard remains to be working to develop a timeline and perceive what may have occurred.

Sohnlein mentioned it’s too early to say how the catastrophe may affect the bigger ocean exploration trade.

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“I would like solutions, the households need solutions, the crew needs solutions, and there’ll be a time for that they usually’ll be accumulating knowledge over the approaching days and weeks,” Sohnlein mentioned. “Exploration is a really worthwhile human endeavor, and the very best factor that we are able to do is honor the legacy of those 5 explorers and take our classes realized and transfer ahead.”

NewsNation author Stephanie Whiteside contributed to this report.