A photographer and camera operator who dove on the ill-fated Titan sub with Stockton Rush was alarmed by the OceanGate CEO’s cavalier attitude.
Brian Weed, a camera operator and analog photographer, has given an interview where he describes Rush as being “blinded by his own hubris” and despite a career spent in extreme environments, he says being in the Titan sub was the only time he felt something was “wrong.”
Weed was making a TV show on the Discovery Channel called Expedition Unknown when he took a test dive in the Titan sub with Rush in Puget Sound, Washington with a view to visiting the Titanic shipwreck — but Weed ultimately bowed out of the mission due to safety concerns.
“Things did not go as planned on our test dive,” Weed tells Insider. “That whole dive made me very uncomfortable with the idea of going down to Titanic depths in that submersible.”
According to Weed, the thruster system malfunctioned during the test dive and the computers had to be recalibrated as well as non-stop communication issues with the crew above water.
‘You’re Dead Anyway’
Weed says he was spooked by a conversation with Rush shortly after he was deadbolted into Titan. The photographer asked Rush what would happen if the submersible had to make a sudden ascent in an emergency.
“[Rush] says, ‘Well there’s four or five days of oxygen on board,’ and I said, ‘What if they don’t find you?’ And he said, ‘Well, you’re dead anyway’,” Weed tells Insider.
“It seemed to almost be a nihilistic attitude toward life or death out in the middle of the ocean.”
Rush’s cavalier attitude made Weed feel uneasy, coupled with the fact he could hear “banging, cracking, and clanking” during the launch procedure.
“We were thinking if this isn’t going well, you know, we’re supposed to go on a dive to Titanic within the next couple of months. It feels like we’re not ready to go,” Weed tells Insider.
Canceling the Dive
Weed says that no sooner had the test dive begun, everything started going wrong — with the thruster system failing leaving them “sitting ducks” in the water.
According to Weed, they spent two hours going nowhere because they had no power to get down to their target in Puget Sound.
“The whole time I’m in the water locked in this [submersible] and thinking this is supposed to go to the Titanic in two months,” Weed tells Insider.
“We can’t get below 100 feet and this is supposed to go 12,000 feet under the ocean.”
Weed says that Rush continually played the problems down and called him a “very convincing” and someone you “want to trust.” But Weed did not trust him.
“He’s a great salesman. He’s committed. He fully believes in what he’s doing. And he fully believes in his innovation and his technology and what he is capable of creating,” Weed said of Rush.
“Stockton believes so much in his own creation and innovation that he wasn’t willing to even consider that he might be wrong about something.”
Weed’s production company hired a consultant from the U.S. Navy who raised concerns over the carbon-fiber hull of Titan. After reading the report, Weed felt like it was playing “Russian roulette” because “there’s no way to know when it’s going to give out.”
On June 19, Weed saw the headlines about the Titan sub going missing and instantly felt sick.
He underlines to Insider that he “never regretted” his choice not to go on Titan to visit the Titanic shipwreck.
Photographers and Titan
Weed isn’t the only camera operator coming out and talking about a tense experience with Rush and Titan, on Wednesday PetaPixel reported Jaden Pan’s story who says Rush suggested sleeping in the sub after the battery went “kaput.”