July 21, 2024

Lost Titan Sub Prototype in Seattle Bay Rescued by iPhone Navigation


It’s been almost a year since the Titan submersible of OceanGate imploded while descending to the ocean floor of the Atlantic to observe the Titanic wreck. Stockton Rush, the CEO of the company, and four others were instantly killed when the vessel was crushed. Wired revisited the challenging development of the sub and the signs of caution that were disregarded.

Titan was not the first submersible of OceanGate. Before constructing the ill-fated tube made of carbon fiber, the company built the Cyclops as a steel-hulled prototype to test the concept. Wired’s Mark Harris accompanied Rush in the prototype on an insightful journey in Seattle’s Elliott Bay. He described:

Ninety minutes later and 130 meters deeper, we were completely disoriented. First, the thruster software malfunctioned, leaving us hovering just above the seafloor. Now the sub’s compass was malfunctioning. The shipwreck we were aiming to explore, a rail ferry that once carried Teddy Roosevelt, was nowhere in sight. All I could see through the forward dome of the Cyclops was the occasional salmon swimming in the cold water.

As I started to feel the cold creeping through the steel hull of the sub, Rush asked me to open the compass app on my iPhone. He wanted to compare it to the one on his phone. The directions did not match, but he restarted the thrusters and we headed off in what he believed was the correct direction.

“You’re going in the completely wrong direction,” a faint voice transmitted through an acoustic link from the support ship tracking us on the surface said. We eventually located the sunken ship, its decaying bow emerging into the headlight of the Cyclops. It was a surreal experience, made more exciting by the element of risk.

Back at the dock, Rush downplayed the issues we had encountered. This is precisely why OceanGate began with the Cyclops 1, he explained, rather than something capable of diving deeper. “I could have constructed a multimillion-dollar version and suddenly I have to solve really silly problems like the magnetic compass,” he mentioned. “The Cyclops 1 is preparing us. When we move on to the Cyclops 2, all these glitches will be resolved.”

Cyclops 2 was eventually renamed Titan. Make sure to read the entire article on Wired to discover all the concerns linked to the construction of carbon fiber, such as how Boeing produced a comprehensive 70-page initial design but refused to participate.

**FAQ Section:**

1. **What was the fate of OceanGate’s Titan submersible?**
– The Titan submersible imploded while descending to the ocean floor to view the wreck of the Titanic, resulting in the deaths of Stockton Rush and four others.

2. **Why did OceanGate start with the Cyclops 1 prototype?**
– OceanGate began with the Cyclops 1 to address and resolve technical issues before moving on to a more advanced submersible like the Titan.

3. **What significant challenges did OceanGate face during the development of the submersibles?**
– Technical glitches, compass malfunctions, and other operational challenges were encountered during the testing and development of the Cyclops and Titan submersibles.


The tragic incident involving OceanGate’s Titan submersible serves as a reminder of the complexities and risks associated with deep-sea exploration. The development process of submersibles requires thorough testing and problem-solving to ensure the safety of those aboard. As advancements continue in underwater technology, lessons learned from past experiences like this will undoubtedly shape future innovations in the field.

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