The co-founder of OceanGate Expeditions said on Monday that he has yet to speak to the families of the five people who perished when the Titan submersible imploded during a dive to the wreckage site of the Titanic.
Guillermo Söhnlein, who co-founded the deep sea exploration company with CEO Stockton Rush in 2009, told Australian radio show “RN Breakfast” on Monday that he hasn’t been in touch with the families or anyone connected to the company.
Rush, 61, was one of the five people on board the Titan sub.
Söhnlein, who lives in Spain, said he has traveled to the US to “make it just a bit easier to help or support any efforts.”
The Argentine-American businessman left OceanGate in 2013.
He turned over his portfolio to Rush.
His comments were cited by Insider.
Söhnlein told “RN Breakfast” that he didn’t think the people who died in the submersible considered themselves “tourists.”
“First of all, I don’t think even they would consider themselves tourists, that’s another problem, the way everything has been talked about in the last week or so,” he said.
“They were part of the crew, they were mission specialists, they were trained for it.”
Söhnlein added: “It’s a sad thing that they died doing something that they were passionate about.”
The passengers included Rush as well as Titanic specialist Paul-Henri Nargeolet, UK billionaire explorer Hamish Harding and Pakistani billionaire and mogul Shahzada Dawood and his 19-year-old son, Suleman.
A ticket aboard the sub costs $250,000 each.
Christine Dawood, who is grieving her husband and young son, told the BBC that 19-year-old Suleman took his Rubik’s Cube with him aboard the sub in hopes of breaking a record.
“He said, ‘I’m going to solve the Rubik’s Cube 3,700 meters below sea at the Titanic,’” she told the outlet in her first interview since the deaths of her son and husband.
The teen was able to solve the cube puzzle in under 20 seconds and carried it with him everywhere, she added.
The US Coast Guard announced on Thursday that all five passengers were lost as a result of a “catastrophic implosion.”
The Titan, owned and operated by OceanGate Expeditions, first began taking people to the Titanic in 2021.
It was touted for a design that included a carbon fiber composite hull and an elongated chamber for crew and passengers — a departure from more traditional spherical cabin areas and all-titanium construction.
Experts had cautioned that under intense pressure at extreme depths the Titan’s hull could implode, which would result in instant death for anyone aboard the vessel.