Crushed in 0.02 Seconds — Titan’s Terrifying Implosion Explained

Moment of death dissected

Col Jung


OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush onboard the Titan. Credit: OceanGate

In 2021, billionaire adventurer Hamish Harding made a record-setting trip to the deepest part of the Mariana trench — the Challenger Deep.

The 4 hour, 11 kilometre (36,000 feet) drop took him nearly three times deeper than the site of the Titanic.

More people have orbited or landed on the moon than go that deep!

At the time, Harding understood the risks and ominously remarked:

“If something goes wrong, you are not coming back.”

Prophetically, on 18 June 2023, something did go wrong.

Hamish Harding after his 2022 SpaceX flight. Credit: AP

The OceanGate Titan submersible that carried him and four others, including OceanGate’s own maverick CEO Stockton Rush, suffered a catastrophic implosion on a sightseeing tour to the Titanic.

They were all very dead, very fast and in a very unpleasant manner. (Just like the Byford Dolphin accident in 1983.)

Deep sea pressure

Thanks to that annoying force called gravity, all of us are exposed to atmospheric pressure.

This is caused by the weight of the air above us pressing down. You can imagine it as a long column of air above you (reaching to the top of the atmosphere) pressing down on the top of your head.

At sea level, we experience 1 atmospheric pressure, roughly equal to 1 kilogram of weight per square centimetre, or 14.7 pounds per square inch (PSI).

Under the sea, that column of atmosphere pressing down is further increased by the weight of the water above you.

And water is far heavier than air.

For every 10 metres of ocean depth, the pressure ramps up by one atmosphere.

How deep did the Titanic sink? Credit: Scott Brown & author

At the Titanic wreck, the Titan submersible would have been subjected to roughly 350 to 400…