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TV host describes near-death trip to Titanic wreck

TV host describes near-death trip to Titanic wreck
The OceanGate Expeditions submersible vessel Titan is missing with five people on board. (PA)

A TV host has shared his description of how he nearly died on a trip to see the wreck of the Titanic as the desperate search continued to locate five people who disappeared on a submersible making the same journey.

Rescuers are in a race against time to locate the Titan sub, operated by OceanGate Expeditions, which was reported missing on Sunday evening in the mid-Atlantic about 435 miles south of St John’s, Newfoundland, Canada.

Five people are on board the small vessel, including British billionaire Hamish Harding, which lost contact about an hour and 45 minutes into its dive towards the wreck.

On Monday, Dr Michael Guillen – a US TV reporter, former Science Editor and best-selling author – shared a description of an accident that “almost claimed my life” during a trip to see the wreckage while working for ABC News in 2000.

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He tweeted a video of an old news report showing the moment his Mir 1 submersible got wedged beneath the stern wreck and the 21-tonne propellers.

Dr Guillen later described the moment they got stuck at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, saying: “You know, like if your car gets stuck in the mud and you try to go forward and then back…that’s what he (operator) was trying to do with our little sub, and I could hear the engine struggling.”

“After a while, I thought to myself this is it. And these exact words came into my head – ‘This is how it’s going to end for you,’” he added on his podcast Science and God with Dr G.

“I thought of Laurel my wife, I never see her again and this enormous sadness consumed me.”

The operator eventually managed to free the Mir 1 from the propeller and it began floating again.

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Dr Guillen said he still doesn’t understand how he survived the incident but added he “experienced God’s presence” when he thought he was about to die.

Dr Michael Guillen has described how an accident “almost claimed my life” during a trip to see the Titanic wreckage. (Reuters)Dr Michael Guillen has described how an accident “almost claimed my life” during a trip to see the Titanic wreckage. (Reuters)
Dr Michael Guillen has described how an accident “almost claimed my life” during a trip to see the Titanic wreckage. (Reuters)

Others on board the missing submersible include British-based Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood, 48, and his son, Suleman, 19.

French explorer Paul-Henri Nargeolet, who works for OceanGate, is also thought to be on board, as is OceanGate founder and chief executive Stockton Rush.

The family of missing British billionaire Harding have said they have “great faith and trust” in rescue teams.

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The US Coast Guard, leading search efforts, tweeted that the total search area completed so far is 10,000 square miles.

It added that a Canadian Aircraft P3 Aurora has arrived on the scene to conduct sonar searches while research vessels Polar Prince and Deep Energy continue their surface searches.

Coast Guard Rear Admiral John Mauger estimated there was 70 to 96 hours left to find them at a press conference held just before 5pm Boston time (10pm BST) on Monday.

Oceanologist Dr Simon Boxall, of the University of Southampton, said a distress signal from the submersible was sent out.

Published: 2023-06-20 17:11:31

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