A billionaire was offered cut-price tickets for him and his son to go on the Titan submersible on its fateful final journey – but turned them down due to scheduling issues.
Jay Bloom said “tomorrow is never promised” as he revealed texts he received from Stockton Rush, the chief executive of the company that owned Titan.
Mr Rush was among five people on board who died after the vessel suffered a “catastrophic implosion” near the wreck of the Titanic. Debris from the submersible was discovered on Thursday.
Mr Bloom, a Democrat donor, posted images apparently showing messages exchanged between himself and Mr Rush, in which the OceanGate CEO offered him “last minute price” tickets for $150,000 (£117,970) per person.
In one text, Mr Rush admitted “there’s obviously risk” but added that it was “way safer than flying in a helicopter or even scuba diving”.
Mr Bloom said on Facebook: “I am sure he really believed what he was saying. But he was very wrong.
“He passionately believed in what he was doing.”
Las Vegas-based Mr Bloom revealed that the tickets earmarked for him and his son Sean instead went to Shahzada Dawood and his 19-year-old son Suleman Dawood.
Suleman had been “terrified” before the trip but went along as a Father’s Day present.
Mr Bloom expressed his condolences for the five people who died, adding: “Tomorrow is never promised. Make the most of today.”
Former Royal Navy submarine captain Ryan Ramsey spoke about the possible cause of the catastrophe, and said lessons will be learned from what happened.
He told Sky News that disregarding standard ways of building submersibles “in pursuit of innovation” in the case of Titan has huge risks, and in this case saw the deaths of five people.