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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

How I rebuffed $200K discount to board ill-fated submersible Titan -Las Vegas billionaire

Las Vegas billionaire Jay Bloom has narrated how he and his son missed death by a whisker after turning down the mouthwatering discount to board the ill-fated submersible Titan operated by the OceanGate.

OceanGate had charged $250,000 per passenger for the deep sea dive into the site of the Titanic wreck, but Bloom had been offered a dicount totalling $200,000 for father and son, meaning $100,000 each.

OceanGate Inc. is a privately owned U.S. company in Everett, Washington, that provides crewed submersibles for tourism, industry, research, and exploration. The company was founded in 2009 by Stockton Rush and Guillermo Söhnlein.

OceanGate uses its Titan vessel to take tourists deep below sea level to visit the Titanic shipwreck, which happened on April 15, 1912 — that is, over 111 years ago. The OceanGate Titan disappeared in the North Atlantic during a trip on Sunday, June 18, 2023.

According to Mr. Bloom, OceanGate co-founder Rush had made desperate overtures to him to join the voyage to the depth (690 km) south-southeast of Newfoundland, North Atlantic Ocean, where the remnats of the Titanic is located.

Mr. Bloom narrates that he and his son Sean had planned to go on the doomed OceanGate Titanic voyage, but pulled out. A friend of Bloom’s son had researched what could go wrong and it scared Sean.


Screenshot of text messages texchanged between Bloom and Rush
Screenshot of text messages texchanged between Bloom and Rush

This is how Bloom narrated the encounters with Rush on his verified Facebook wall:

So. I decided to share some of my texts with Stockton Rush, the CEO and founder of OceanGate, the company that built and operated the sub, Titan, that we have all been following this last week.

In February Stockton asked me and my son, Sean, to go with him on the dive to Titanic in May. Both May dives were postponed due to weather and the dive got delayed until June 18th, the date of this trip.

I expressed safety concerns and Stockton told me: “While there’s obviously risk it’s way safer than flying in a helicopter or even scuba diving. There hasn’t been even an injury in 35 years in a non-military subs.”

I am sure he really believed what he was saying. But he was very wrong. He passionately believed in what he was doing.

Screenshot of text messages texchanged between Bloom and Rush
Screenshot of text messages texchanged between Bloom and Rush

The last time I saw Stockton in person was March 1st. He took me through the Titanic Exhibit at Luxor. Then, at lunch in the Luxor food court we talked about the dive, including safety. He was absolutely convinced that it was safer than crossing the street.

He gave me a book of photos (1 of 324 produced) signed by him and Paul Henri Nargeolet, two of the five onboard the sub.

I told him that due to scheduling we couldn’t go until next year. Our seats went to Shahzada Dawood and his 19 year old son, Suleman Dawood, two of the other three who lost their lives on this excursion (the fifth being Hamish Harding).
One last time.. RIP Stockton and crew.

As for Sean and I, after this right on the heels last week of losing Treat Williams, another friend of 25 years and former business partner, we are going to take a minute to stop and smell the roses.

The submersible vessel named Titan used to visit the wreckage site of the Titanic

Tomorrow is never promised. Make the most of today. Sean LA Simon King.

Artistic impression of the sinking of the Titanic

The Titanic sank in the early morning hours of April 15, 1912 in the North Atlantic Ocean, four days into her maiden voyage from Southampton [a port city in Hampshire, England] to New York City, USA.

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The largest ocean liner in service at the time, Titanic had an estimated 2,224 people on board when she struck an iceberg at around 23:40 (ship’s time) on Sunday, April 14, 1912.

Her sinking two hours and 40 minutes later at 02:20 (ship’s time; 05:18 GMT) on Monday, April 15, resulted in the deaths of more than 1,500 people, making it one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in history.

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