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Oceangate

A collection of stories to recap some of the most major events of 2023

In 1912, the seemingly unsinkable ship, the RMS Titanic, met an eerie fate at the bottom of the Atlantic. It has remained there for over 100 years nearly untouched. Sometimes history repeats itself and the 111 year old ship took 5 more lives just this past year. OceanGate, a company co-founded by Stockton Rush, is an underwater expedition company that began offering tours of the Titanic via submarine, on paper this may seem like a good idea. A great way to reconnect with history and show it to the next generation, but it took a grim turn in June of this past year. 

This accident wasn’t an act of God, or an operating error, but the result of years of neglectful practices and ignorance of basic safety standards. Stockton Rush wanted his submarine to be different, so he built the entire frame out of carbon fiber. This was seen as a big negative in the submarine business as the carbon fiber is known to easily deteriorate and give out compared to other classic building materials. Despite receiving multiple letters from agencies urging him to never launch the sub due to it’s danger, Stockton insisted on his genius and on June 18th, 2023 took himself and 4 other passengers down to what would later become their watery grave. 

After only an hour and forty-five minutes into their descent, they lost contact with all communications above the water. Little did many know then, but that was likely when an implosion took place. Search crews searched the Atlantic for days after their disappearance, but nothing. U.S and Canadian ships and planes raced against time to find them before the predicted time they would run out of oxygen, but that window closed with no answers. Just a couple days after, the world was given its first conclusion to this tragedy. A search party found debris on the submarine. The debris itself supported the conclusion of an implosion. The carbon fiber frame that Stockton Rush was told repeatedly not to use, had imploded under the pressure.

The idea that you would pay $250,000 for a ticket on a submarine that wasn’t guaranteed safety by any organization was mind-boggling to some. People took to platforms like X and TikTok to voice their opinions on the matter, but is OceanGate really at fault? Prior to boarding the submarine the passengers signed a waiver that apparently educated them on all of the dangers, but is OceanGate safe? Maybe not. Many lawyers have come forward saying that that waiver may not be enough to hold up in a lawsuit by the victims’ families. While nothing has been filed publicly yet, as we head into 2024 a lawsuit may be heading OceanGate’s way.

In a world where space travel is in our near future and companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin are pumping out new innovations by the day, this tragedy puts everything at hold. Stockton Rush saw himself as a visionary and an inventor. He believed that this submarine would change ocean exploration forever, but unfortunately that dream ended due to a failed attempt at innovation. This same failure is seen in the Challenger explosion and continues to happen as the world is constantly competing with each other for who can be the first to do the next best thing.

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About the Contributor
Maddox Johnson, News Reporter
Class of 2025 Maddox Johnson is serving his first year on staff. He enjoys watching movies and golfing in his free time.

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