(NewsNation) — A one-of-a-kind submersible that went missing while carrying five people to the Titanic shipwreck on Sunday was reportedly outfitted with “off-the-shelf” parts and piloted using a video game controller.
“We run the whole thing with this game controller,” Rush told Pogue as he held up a modified Logitech gamepad controller inside the sub.
Rush also highlighted the vessel’s one and only button.
“It should be like an elevator, it shouldn’t take a lot of skill,” Rush said.
When Pogue asked about the “MacGyvered” equipment, Rush pushed back and pointed out that the most important part — the pressure vessel — was built with help from experts at Boeing, NASA, and the University of Washington.
“Everything else can fail,” Rush said. “Your thrusters can go, your lights can go, you’re still going to be safe.”
The small, five-person tourist vessel isn’t the only sub that uses a video game controller.
In 2018, the U.S. Navy unveiled a new 377-foot-long attack submarine complete with an Xbox controller. But the controller, which is cheaper and easier to use than a joystick, doesn’t control the entire sub. Sailors use it to maneuver the photonics masts, which function similarly to periscopes.
It’s unclear if the controller from the CBS segment in November was the same one used for the latest expedition.
In an interview with NewsNation on Monday, Pogue described Titan as a cramped sub plagued by mechanical issues.
“On my dive to the Titanic we only got 37 feet down when there was a mechanical problem and we had to come back up to the surface, and that’s typical,” said Pogue.
Those risks, he said, are outlined in the paperwork that expedition participants sign before going on the tour.
“You sign a waiver, it says ‘these are all the ways you could die,’ they outline it for you,” Pogue said.
Tickets for the Titanic expedition this year cost $250,000 each, according to OceanGate’s website.
On Tuesday, rescue teams continued their search for the missing sub. Coast Guard officials estimate that the five passengers had about 40 hours of breathable air remaining as of 1 p.m. Eastern time.