Elon Musk, CEO of Twitter and SpaceX, has broken his silence on the disappearance of a research submarine visiting the remains of the Titanic.
The company that operates the sub, OceanGate Expeditions, previously tweeted its appreciation of Musk’s Starlink service provided through SpaceX, which allowed them internet access as they ventured into the North Atlantic Ocean.
Despite being in the middle of the North Atlantic, we have the internet connection we need to make our #Titanic diving operations a success – thanks @Starlink! the company tweeted earlier this month.
Follow our live blog for updates on the Titanic submarine rescue mission
Mr. Musk responded to a tweet posted by Snopes’ post by noting that he is the CEO of SpaceX, which provides the Starlink service. He suggested that the connection between Starlink and the sub was a psyop.
He can’t even handle a good psych operation, Mr. Musk he wrote.
Reports surfaced Monday that OceanGate Expeditions had lost contact with the submarine and its passengers, sparking a frantic search effort to locate the vehicle before its life support ran out.
Tourists can pay $250,000 for the opportunity to board the submarine which is an “experimental” aircraft and visit the remains of the Titanic, which sank in 1912.
There is currently no evidence to suggest that Starlink played a role in the ship’s disappearance.
Musk’s defenders were quick to point out that Starlink could not be used to communicate with the submarine due to the depths involved in the vessel’s operation.
There is no internet service several miles under the fucking ocean. snopes is as fiercely partisan and fake as any conspiracy subreddit he’s ever come across, verified twitter user, self-proclaimed disinformation researcher Mike Solana he wrote.
However, OceanGate Expeditions has never claimed to use the Internet to communicate with the submarine; it also operates surface vessels in support roles during its expeditions which previous reports confirm rely on internet connection.
Despite his response, it is unclear whether Mr. Musk is denying that OceanGate Expeditions uses Internet provided by Starlink.
The independent reached out to Musk and SpaceX for comment.
David Pogue, who visited the submarine and produced a story about the vessel for CBS News ahead of its voyage, revealed on Monday that the vessel was actually lost for about five hours as he was reporting the story.
Mr. Pogue claimed to be aboard the lead ship at the time of the disappearance and said the crew were able to send messages to support personnel during the five-hour period.
“To be clear, I wasn’t on the submarine that day, I was on the ship on the surface, in the control room. They could still send short messages to the submarine, but they didn’t know where it was,” he wrote on Twitter.
It is unclear why the submarine’s occupants are unable to send messages to the command ship during this voyage.
He said the company blocked Internet access to reporters on the command ship to prevent them from publicizing that the sub was lost.
“It was quiet and very tense, and they shut down the ship’s internet to stop us from tweeting,” he wrote.
When commentators pressed him why he didn’t report that OceanGate would cut off their Internet access, Mr. Pogue said the company told them they needed all clear channels for emergencies. He also noted that the submarine’s mishap has sparked discussions about installing a tracker similar to those used by airplanes, though it’s unclear whether such steps were ever taken.
British billionaire, businessman and explorer Hamish Harding is among those missing in the submarine. He shared in a social media post that he has been hired as a mission specialist to assist in the journey of submarines to the wreck.
Paul-Henri Nargeolet, a French maritime expert, is also one of the missing. He did more than dive to visit the wreck of the Titanic. He is director of underwater research for RMS Titanic, Inc, a US company that owns the salvage rights to the wreck.
British businessman Shahzada Dawood and his 19-year-old son Suleman Dawood are also known to be on the submarine, according to a statement released by Engro Corporation. Mr. Dawood is the company’s vice president. The Dawoods come from one of Pakistan’s wealthiest families.
Stockton Rush, CEO of OceanGate Expeditions, is also on the ship, according to the company.
The U.S. Coast Guard said in a statement on Tuesday that less than 40 hours of air remained in the ship, narrowing the time frame for a successful rescue of the missing crew.
Coast Guard and U.S. Navy vessels have continued to search for the vessel since it was reported missing by OceanGate Expeditions.
David Lochridge, a pilot who helped test the sub, says he was fired after warning that the vessel may not be able to withstand the pressure of the deep ocean, according to The New Republic. He says that when he raised concerns that the company might be putting its customers at risk, he was given 10 minutes to immediately vacate his desk.
The independent requested a comment from OceanGate Expeditions.
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