Jay and Sean Bloom are grateful to be alive after they turned down seats on the Titan submersible that imploded during a voyage to the Titanic wreck site. The father and son duo had been interested in the expedition, but decided not to go after doing some research on the safety of the vessel.
Jay Bloom, a Las Vegas-based investor, said he was approached by Stockton Rush, the CEO of OceanGate Expeditions, who offered him two spots on the Titan for him and his son. Sean Bloom, 20, had been fascinated by the story of the doomed British passenger liner as a child, and his father wanted to give him a “bucket list” thrill.
However, Sean started seeing red flags about the submersible’s ability to withstand the extreme pressure and depth of the ocean. He and his friend Simon looked into the design and specifications of the Titan and found out that it used consumer-grade parts, such as a video game joystick, and had a novel carbon-fiber hull that had not been tested extensively. They also learned that the passengers could not open the hatch from the inside in case of an emergency.
Sean shared his concerns with his father, who was also worried about the safety of the trip. Jay said he politely declined Rush’s last-minute invitation to join the season’s final expedition, claiming scheduling conflicts. He said Rush was confident and dismissive of any risks, claiming that the trip was safer than flying a helicopter or scuba diving.
The two seats that Jay and Sean turned down went to Pakistani-born magnate Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman, who perished along with Rush and two others when the Titan imploded deep below the surface of the Atlantic on June 22. The cause of the accident is still under investigation by authorities in Canada and the U.S.
Jay and Sean said they were shocked and saddened by the tragedy, but also relieved that they had listened to their intuition and avoided a fatal outcome. They said they were reminded of what really matters in life and expressed their condolences to the families of the victims.