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Recently, five men died during the Titanic tourist submarine excursion. Two of the five men included a father-son duo.
The father was a British-based Pakistani tycoon. The son named Shahzada Dawood was a university student. They took part in the expedition along with three others.
These members included French submersible pilot Paul-Henry Nargeolet, chief executive and founder of OceanGate Expeditions, Stockton Rushton, and British billionaire Mr. Harding.
Experts are figuring out why this submarine broke apart 3,500 meters below the surface. However, the most likely reason comes out to be the heaviness of the vehicle. This lead to stress on the vehicle’s hull. This eventually resulted in its explosion.
A Similar Incident
A similar incident occurred in May 1973.
The Johnson Sea Link accident happened in June 1973. Because of this incident, two divers died. The submersible was set off for a routine dive off the coast of Key West, Florida. Soon, it became entangled in the wreckage of a sunken destroyer. This further trapped its four travelers.
After over 24 hours of being trapped, the submersible was eventually recovered. But two occupants died from carbon dioxide poisoning. The accident prompted Edwin Link, the submersible’s designer. He then designed an unmanned device to rescue a trapped submersible.
Johnson Sea Link: A Disaster
The Johnson Sea Link was a successor to Edwin Link’s previous submersible, the Deep Diver. However, the Bureau of Ships deemed the Deep Diver unsafe in great depths or extremely cold temperatures. This did this because the vessel used the wrong type of steel in some parts.
After that, Edwin Link designed the Johnson Sea Link with a distinctive acrylic bubble. He used it in the forward pilot/observer compartment. The submersible carried a crew of four. It had an aft compartment. The manufacturer designed it for lockout diving. The forward compartment whereas, provided a panoramic underwater view.
On June 17, 1973, the Sea Link crew launched the Johnson Sea Link from Edwin Link’s research ship, the Sea Diver. It was set to recover a fish trap from a sunken destroyer.
However, the submersible got trapped on a cable in the wreckage of the destroyer. This entanglement led the crew to be trapped for over 24 hours. Many made attempts to rescue the trapped crew. However, the deaths of two occupants, Edwin Clayton Link and Albert Dennison Stover were certain.
Investigations and Conclusion
The accident was investigated by the United States Coast Guard. It concluded that the accident was caused by pilot error and the hull shape of the submersible. Edwin Link spent the next two years designing an unmanned Cabled Observation and Rescue Device (CORD). It could free a trapped submersible.
The Johnson Sea Link accident is a tragic reminder of the inherent dangers of underwater exploration. Therefore, we should know the importance of proper preparation and precautions underwater.
Despite technological advancements and safety measures, accidents still occur in underwater exploration. It is crucial to continue learning from past mistakes and working towards safer practices.