business tycoon revealed he gave up his spots on the doomed Titan sub at the last minute despite reassurances from the late OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush that it was “safer than crossing the street”.
Las Vegas-based financier Jay Bloom claimed the pilot and CEO was offering last-minute places on board for $150,000 (£120,000) - a $100,000 discount on the normal fee for the voyage that ended in tragedy after the submersive imploded while diving to observe the Titanic wreck on Sunday.
Mr Bloom, who has been photographed with Joe Biden, turned down the seats which instead went to London billionaire Shahzada Dawood and his 19-year-old son, Suleman Dawood who perished in the implosion.
Revealing text messages between the pair, it appears Mr Stockton, who died in the tragedy, tried to reassure Bloom on safety concerns, messaging: “While there’s obviously risk it’s way safer than flying in a helicopter or even scuba diving. There hasn’t been even an injury in 35 years in a non-military subs.”
In a Facebook post, Jay Bloom said he had dropped out after his own son expressed safety concerns.
He wrote: “I am sure he really believed what he was saying. But he was very wrong. He passionately believed in what he was doing.”
“A lunch in the Luxor food court we talked about the dive, including safety. He was absolutely convinced that it was safer than crossing the street,” he added.
“I told him that due to scheduling we couldn’t go until next year. Our seats went to Shahzada Dawood and his 19-year-old son, Suleman Dawood, two of the other three who lost their lives on this excursion (the fifth being Hamish Harding).
“As for Sean and I... we are going to take a minute to stop and smell the roses.
“Tomorrow is never promised. Make the most of today.”
Suleman Dawood, 19, heir to the great Dawood dynasty, had felt compelled to join the expedition as a Father’s Day present to his dad Shahzada, his heartbroken family revealed.
The father and son, from Surbiton, were confirmed among five dead when the submersible imploded on the descent with wreckage discovered on the Atlantic Ocean floor around 1,600 ft from the bow of the Titanic.
Suleman’s aunt Azmeh Dawood said the business student, from Surbiton, informed a relative he was “very not into doing it”
The Titan submersible vanished on Sunday roughly two hours into its dive and was found in pieces on the ocean floor after what the US Coast Guard said on Thursday was a “catastrophic implosion” of its pressure chamber.
It came as legal experts said liability waivers signed by passengers may not shield the owner from potential lawsuits by the victims’ families.
The families could not be reached on Thursday. It is possible none of them will sue.
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