NewsPalm Beach CountyRegion S Palm Beach CountyDelray Beach

Actions

Ocean expert from Delray Beach recounts trip aboard submersible with OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush

'They called it the deep disease, which is the deeper you go underwater, the deeper you wanna go,' George Schellenger says
George Schellenger recounts his exploration with Stockton Rush off the coast of Fort Lauderdale.
Posted at 2:38 PM, Jun 23, 2023

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — For one Delray Beach resident, the case of the doomed submersible hits close to home having traveled beneath the ocean's surface with the Titan's captain.

It was the trip of a lifetime almost 10 years ago for ocean expert and former journalist George Schellenger on what he said was the first OceanGate sub.

The trip took him 500 feet underwater off the coast of Fort Lauderdale in search of invasive lionfish.

The pilot on the submersible was OceanGate founder and CEO Stockton Rush.

"This was a passionate guy," Schellenger said. "They called it the deep disease, which is the deeper you go underwater, the deeper you wanna go."

Rush was one of five people on board the submersible named Titan, which suffered a "catastrophic implosion" this week near the Titanic wreck site, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

"At that depth, the margin of error is so small," Schellenger said. "It's the same as going into space."

Submarine expert explains: What causes an underwater implosion?

Scripps News

Submarine expert explains: What causes an underwater implosion?

Scripps News Staff
11:01 PM, Jun 22, 2023

He said he has gone on four submarine trips, exploring and documenting what's beneath the deep blue sea, offering his thoughts on the tragedy.

"It's sad. You think about it, but again, and this is kind of how I feel when I'm doing underwater work, it's what I want to do," Schellenger said. "I know it's not an average job, but it's what I want to do."

But it's trips like this that provide a lens to underwater exploration that people on land would otherwise never see.

"There is a price to be paid for this kind of exploring, whether it's space, the ocean, and we need people like that to do this," Schellenger said. "They're pushing it for the rest of us. They're using these boundaries for the rest of us to be able to explore as well."