How OceanGate's Titanic Submersible Disaster Was Exposed by the Wayback Machine

How OceanGate’s Titanic Submersible Disaster Was Exposed by the Wayback Machine

Have you ever dreamed of exploring the depths of the ocean and seeing the Titanic with your own eyes? If you had $250,000 to spare, you could have booked a seat on OceanGate’s submersible Titan, which promised to take you on a once-in-a-lifetime expedition to the world’s most famous shipwreck.

But what happened to OceanGate, the company that claimed to be the leader in underwater tourism and exploration? How did it go from offering Titanic dives to becoming a Wayback Machine nightmare?

In this article, we will tell you the story of OceanGate, a submersible company that rose to fame and fortune, but then imploded in a tragic accident that killed five people, including its founder and CEO.

We will also show you how to access OceanGate’s website using the Wayback Machine, a digital archive that preserves snapshots of web pages over time. You will learn how OceanGate’s website changed before and after the accident, and what clues it reveals about the company’s fate.

What was OceanGate?

OceanGate was an American privately owned company based in Everett, Washington, that provided crewed submersibles for tourism, industry, research, and exploration. The company was founded in 2009 by Stockton Rush and Guillermo Söhnlein, two entrepreneurs who shared a passion for undersea adventure. They wanted to create a fleet of 5-person commercial submersibles that could be leased by anyone who wanted to explore the ocean.

OceanGate acquired its first submersible, Antipodes, in 2011, and later built two of its own: Cyclops 1 and Titan. Cyclops 1 was a prototype that was used for testing and development, while Titan was the flagship submersible that was designed to dive to 4,000 meters (13,000 feet), the depth of the Titanic. Titan was a state-of-the-art vessel that featured a carbon fiber hull, a 360-degree view dome, and a sophisticated navigation system.

OceanGate began taking paying tourists to the Titanic’s wreckage in 2021, after obtaining a permit from the Canadian government. The company charged $250,000 per person for a 10-day expedition that included a 6-hour dive to the Titanic, as well as lectures, workshops, and other activities. OceanGate claimed that its Titanic expeditions were not only for entertainment but also for scientific and educational purposes. The company said that it would collect data and images of the Titanic, and contribute to the preservation and documentation of the shipwreck.

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OceanGate’s Titanic expeditions attracted a lot of media attention and public interest. The company said that it had a waiting list of more than 1,000 people and that it planned to conduct 54 dives in 2021 and 2022. OceanGate also announced that it would expand its operations to other destinations, such as the Great Blue Hole in Belize, the Andrea Doria in Italy, and the Lusitania in Ireland.

What Happened to OceanGate?

OceanGate’s Titanic expeditions seemed to be a success until a tragic accident occurred on June 18, 2023. On that day, Titan was on its way to the Titanic wreck site, carrying five people: Stockton Rush, the CEO and pilot of the submersible; Jennifer Hayes, a marine biologist and, co-pilot; James Cameron, a famous filmmaker, and explorer; and two paying passengers.

According to the official report, Titan suffered a catastrophic hull breach at a depth of 3,800 meters (12,500 feet), due to a manufacturing defect that was undetected during the quality control process. The breach caused a rapid implosion of the submersible, killing all five occupants instantly. The report also stated that OceanGate had violated several safety regulations and protocols, such as failing to conduct adequate inspections, tests, and maintenance of the submersible, and exceeding the maximum depth limit of 3,600 meters (11,800 feet).

The accident sparked a huge outcry, controversy, and a series of investigations and lawsuits. OceanGate was accused of negligence, fraud, and manslaughter, and faced claims of billions of dollars in damages from the families of the victims, the Canadian government, and other parties. OceanGate’s reputation and credibility were severely damaged, and its business and operations were suspended. On July 6, 2023, the company announced that it was shutting down permanently, and filed for bankruptcy.

How to access OceanGate’s website using the Wayback Machine?

OceanGate’s website, oceangate.com, was taken down shortly after the accident and is no longer accessible. However, you can still view snapshots of the website as it appeared at different points in time, using the Wayback Machine. The Wayback Machine is a service of the Internet Archive, a non-profit organization that preserves digital content for future generations. The Wayback Machine allows you to browse through more than 500 billion web pages that have been archived since 1996. It keeps all data and ensures it doesn’t lose data even when it is down.

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To access OceanGate’s website using the Wayback Machine, you need to follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Wayback Machine’s homepage, wayback.archive.org.
  2. Enter oceangate.com in the search box, and click on Browse History.
  3. You will see a calendar that shows the dates when the website was captured by the Wayback Machine. The blue circles indicate the days when the website was available, and the green circles indicate the days when the website was changed. You can also use the timeline slider to navigate through the years.
  4. Click on any date that you want to see, and you will be taken to a snapshot of the website as it appeared on that date. You can also click on any link on the website to explore other pages, as long as the Wayback Machine archives them.
  5. To go back to the calendar, click on the Wayback Machine logo on the top left corner of the page.

What can we learn from OceanGate’s website using the Wayback Machine?

By using the Wayback Machine, we can see how OceanGate’s website changed before and after the accident, and what clues it reveals about the company’s fate. Here are some examples of what we can learn:

  • On June 13, 2023, five days before the accident, OceanGate’s website was updated with a new banner that announced the launch of its Titanic expeditions. The banner featured a photo of Titan and the Titanic and a slogan that said: “Explore the Titanic with OceanGate”. The banner also had a button that said “Book Now”, which linked to a page where potential customers could fill out a form to reserve a seat on the submersible. The website also had a section that showcased the features and specifications of Titan, and a section that displayed the testimonials and reviews of previous customers who had experienced OceanGate’s expeditions.
  • On June 19, 2023, one day after the accident, OceanGate’s website was changed to show a black screen with a message that said “We are deeply saddened to announce that the company’s submersible Titan has been lost at sea, along with five of our crew members and passengers. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and loved ones. We are working with the authorities to determine the cause of the accident and to recover the wreckage. We will provide more information as soon as possible. Thank you for your support and understanding.” The website also had a link to a press release that gave more details about the accident and the victims.
  • On June 22, 2023, three days after the accident, OceanGate’s website was taken down completely, and replaced with a message that said “This site can’t be reached. oceangate.com’s server IP address could not be found.” The website remained unavailable until July 6, 2023, when OceanGate announced its closure and bankruptcy. After that date, the website was no longer archived by the Wayback Machine.
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Conclusion

OceanGate was a submersible company that offered Titanic expeditions to adventurous and wealthy customers but ended up in a disaster that killed five people, including its founder and CEO. The company’s website, oceangate.com, was taken down after the accident, but you can still view snapshots of it using the Wayback Machine, a digital archive that preserves web pages over time. By using the Wayback Machine, you can see how OceanGate’s website changed before and after the accident, and what clues it reveals about the company’s fate.

The company’s story is a cautionary tale of how a dream can turn into a nightmare, and how a business can go from success to failure in a matter of seconds. It also shows the importance of safety, quality, and ethics in the field of underwater tourism and exploration, and the challenges and risks that it faces. OceanGate’s legacy will be remembered as a tragic and controversial chapter in the history of ocean exploration, and a reminder of the power and mystery of the deep sea.

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