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Passenger who took 2021 trip to see Titanic says missing sub ‘was not safe’

A man who visited the Titanic wreck on the missing sub two years ago has said he felt the small vessel “was not safe”.

Former Titan passenger Arthur Loibl told Sky News “everybody was nervous” when he joined an OceanGate trip to see the world-famous structure at the bottom of the North Atlantic in 2021.

The Titan, with five people on board, has not been heard from since Sunday, as it descended towards the Titanic. Its oxygen supply is expected to run out around midday on Thursday (UK time), as a major search continues for the sub.

He said other excursions had experienced problems with the vessel’s battery systems around 1,600m (5,200ft) deep and had to return to the surface.

The submersible Titan pictured on Sunday. Pic: Action Aviation via AP

Latest updates on missing sub

Mr Loibl said during his excursion the Titan took two-and-a-half hours to reach the bottom and then 20 minutes to reach the stricken ocean liner.

They then explored the wreck for three hours, which he said felt like “only a few minutes”, before making the two-and-a-half hour return journey to the surface.

‘It was so small, nothing was comfortable’

Describing conditions inside the sub, Mr Loibl said five people sat closely together: “There is no seat, you cannot stand, you cannot kneel, you only sit for 10 and a half hours.

“Our legs are like a crab, like a snake because it was so small, nothing was comfortable.”

He said it was “very, very cold” in the vessel because temperatures outside were around 4C.

Staff at work inside their submersible vessel named Titan. File pic
The inside of the Titan

Mr Loibl said during his dive he was nervous that the sub would have to return to the surface if it had “some problems like in the other dives with the battery systems”.

But he added: “I was not afraid. If you do things like this, you must be a little bit crazy.”

Asked if he thought the sub was safe, he said: “No, it was not safe.”

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How might Titan be found?

Read more:
US Coast Guard does not know what the ‘noises’ are – but they ‘need to have hope’
What are the sonobuoys that picked up underwater noises?

Relative says ‘sole focus’ is rescue of ‘beloved’ family members

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‘We’re searching where noises were detected’

‘I feel very bad and very sad’

Mr Loibl said he “personally” knew missing OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush and Paul-Henri Nargeolet, the French pilot, because they were in his sub for the dive.

He said Mr Rush had emailed him on Saturday saying he would go for a dive on Sunday – the day the sub went missing.

“I could not answer him because he was going down and now he is missing, I feel very bad and very sad,” he added.

“He told me that it was a very awful spring and winter, maybe the worst one in the last 40 years, and they had no successful dives this year, so they will try on Sunday the last dive.”

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‘Still life support’ on missing sub

Unknown noises near Titanic wreck

It comes as the US Coast Guard said it was unclear what some noises heard near the wreck of the Titanic actually were.

Captain Jamie Frederick said: “We don’t know what (the noises) are, to be frank with you.”

He revealed that in addition to Tuesday, further noises were heard on Wednesday morning.

“We’re searching in the area where the noises were detected,” he said.

The search area in a remote part of the Atlantic Ocean has been expanded and is now more than twice the size of the US state of Connecticut.


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