A Rochester-area resident lost two friends who were inside the Titan when it imploded. He also recently rode inside that exact submersible.
“It was pretty clear to me that something catastrophic had happened," said Craig Curran, president of Galactic Experience By DePrez.
He knows firsthand what it’s like to travel inside the Titan submersible that authorities say imploded during an ocean voyage to the RMS Titanic.
“I’ve been in the Titan several times," said Curran.
In fact, he was in the Titan less than one month ago, heading out on a mission to see the Titanic along with two of the people who died in the tragedy, Stockton Rush and Paul-Henri Nargeolet.
“I immediately changed my focus to taking solace in that they don’t even know what happened onboard,” said Curran. “This happened so fast that I don’t even think that they were even consciously aware that the sub had imploded. They just were gone.”
Curran says that on his most recent trip, the team trained, suited up and drilled – but the dive was called off due to weather.
He describes what it's like inside the Titan submersible.
"The Titan is cramped, but it's reasonably comfortable,” said Curran. “There is a padded floor, kind of a rubber pad and it can accommodate five. You sit on the floor. Imagine it's a cylinder and the floor is about a quarter of the way up. It's comfortable to lean up against the carbon fiber pressure vessel.”
Curran says the passengers dress in layers to adjust for temperature changes.
“Initially, the sub is very stuffy when you get into it because there's a lot of heat generated by the occupants,” he said. “When the sub launches, very quickly that heat dissipates. So when you first get in, you're taking all your layers off. When you descend, you're putting all your layers back on because it gets very cold. That water temperature at that depth at 12,600 feet is about 29 degrees, it's actually below freezing."
Curran describes the ocean drop to the Titanic.
“It's a long descent, two and a half hours and totally dark, completely dark for the descent until you turn on the external light to the sub when you get to the bottom,” he said.
Asked if he felt safe in the submersible, Curran answered, “I did. I did. And a lot of people have asked me, they made the assumption, I wouldn't do it again going forward. I have not made a decision on that. I don't know what actually happened. I don't know what the nature of the failure was. Is this something that was unforeseeable? And now that we know about it, can it be mitigated? Was it something in the manufacturing or a process that can be changed, that can be mitigated? I don't know. But right now, I would go again. I would go again. I'm not frightened of that.”
Curran believes ultimately the Titan and its team will move the ball forward in the world of exploration.
“I don't know how this chapter and this accident are going to manifest in moving us forward, but I am absolutely thoroughly confident that it will and that it was worth pursuing,” he said. "I think I can speak for P-H and Stockton that it was worth it to them and I feel good having been a part of it.”