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Rory Golden, Irish diving expert. Facebook.
Oceangate tragedy

Irish diver who was on board mothership of Oceangate sub that imploded says it was 'traumatic'

“We were living in hope for four days,” Rory Golden said.

AN IRISH DIVING expert who was on board the mothership alongside family members of those missing during the Oceangate submersible disaster in which five people died has said that the experience was “traumatic” for everyone involved. 

Rory Golden, who has dived to the depths of the ocean and was involved in retrieving the wheel of the Titanic – which was used to try and turn the famous ship away from the iceberg – spoke to RTÉ Radio One today about his experience during the Oceangate tragedy. It’s the first time he has spoken publicly about the ordeal. 

Hamish Harding (58), Shahzada Dawood (48), his son Sulaiman Dawood (19), French diving expert Paul Henry Nargeolet (77) and Oceangate CEO Stockton Rush all died when a submersible that they were travelling in to the Titanic wreck site imploded, killing everyone on board instantly. 

Golden, who is involved in an upcoming unmanned expedition that’s aiming to survey the entire wreck site for the first time in 14 years, said that the four days of waiting for news of those aboard the submersible, hoping they were still alive, saw all those aboard a mothership attached to the expedition “on the go 24 hours a day” trying to aid the search mission. 

“We were living in hope for four days. 

“When the incident occurred and the alarm was raised, initially we weren’t that worried because communications can break down, soundwaves can get distorted, so we were not that alarmed. 

“We had two wives and a daughter of three of those people [on board], we had to live with that and be strong and brave,” Golden told Claire Byrne today. 

He explained that those aboard the mothership got “more and more” concerned as time went on, but busied themselves with investigating sonar images and “strange tapping noises”. 

“All these mysteries kept us thinking things would be okay. 

“When it was finally announced, in many ways it was a relief, we had this dreadful thought of all our friends suffering down there… at least we knew they died instantly and wouldn’t have known anything about it,” Golden said. 

He said that he remembers the victims of the implosion as being happy when they departed the mother ship. 

Those people I ferried only a few hours beforehand from the mothership to the sub, left the boat happy, laughing, looking forward to going and looking at the Titanic, and we never saw them again. 

“My memory of them was they went in a very positive frame of mind,” Golden recalled. 

Golden himself travelled in the submersible a year prior. He said that he did have discussions with the French diving expert, Paul Henry Nargeolet, about how the sub was made with new tech. 

“I was confident enough to have a dive from that sub,” he said. 

Golden added that there are “calculated risks” involved in travelling to the depths of the ocean. 

He said that as the investigation into the event is ongoing, he has his “own thoughts”, but is keeping them to himself. 

Golden is going to be part of an expedition that goes out next week which will see to establish the rate of the decay of the Titanic, and that it will inform the future retrieval of artefacts. 

The wreck of the Titanic is in the Atlantic Ocean, around 13,000 feet underwater. 

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