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OceanGate Titan submarine operated by video game controller, CEO says

The Titan submarine OceanGate has been charging tourists around $250,000 each to ride in is operated by an inexpensive video game controller, its CEO revealed in a video interview last year.

Stockton Rush, during a segment aired by “CBS Sunday Morning,” said “we run the whole thing with this game controller” while holding up what appears to be a modified Logitech F710 wireless gamepad. 

The device first debuted in 2011, according to the gaming website Dexerto, and a refurbished version of it currently retails for $30 on Amazon. 

In the CBS video, Rush’s version appears to have elongated, modified sticks to help control the Titan submarine. 


OceanGate Titan sub

This file image provided by OceanGate shows the Titan submersible descending into the ocean. (OceanGate Expeditions)

On Logitech’s website, it says the AA battery-operated F710 controller has a “Four-switch D-pad for precise control,” operates on “Fast 2.4 GHz wireless via USB nano reciever” and offers “Dual-motor vibration feedback.” 

OceanGate’s expeditions to the Titanic depart from St. John’s, Newfoundland, to the wreck of the Titanic about 370 miles away. The trips take eight days, and each dive to the wreck and ascent to the surface reportedly takes roughly eight hours. Passengers pay about $250,000 to participate in the trip. 

OceanGate, which was founded in 2009 by Rush, has several custom-built submersibles including Titan, which was designed to reach depths of 13,123 feet necessary to visit the wreck of the Titanic, which lies at a depth of about 12,500 feet. The Titan utilizes SpaceX’s Starlink satellite communications system when at sea. 


Logitech F710 wireless gamepad

A Logitech F710 wireless video game controller. (oby Sessions/PC Gamer Magazine/Future via Getty Images)

The company’s website says that the Titan has life support capabilities sufficient to sustain its five-person crew for 96 hours. According to the Coast Guard, the submersible departed the Canadian research vessel Polar Prince on Sunday morning for its trip to the Titanic, and the ship lost contact with the sub after about 1 hour and 45 minutes.  

The Coast Guard said Tuesday that it has not found any traces of the submarine after searching 10,000 square miles. 


OceanGate Titan sub on platform underwater

This file image provided by OceanGate shows the Titan submersible awaiting a signal on a platform. (OceanGate Expeditions)

Rush, in an interview with a CBS Sunday Morning correspondent last year, also said he had a worry of objects preventing the vessel from returning to the surface.  

“What I worry about most are things that will stop me from being able to get to the surface. Overhangs, fish nets, entanglement hazards,” Rush told David Pogue on the “Unsung Science” podcast. “And, that’s just a technique, piloting technique. It’s pretty clear — if it’s an overhang, don’t go under it. If there is a net, don’t go near it. So, you can avoid those if you are just slow and steady.” 

FOX Business’ Eric Revell contributed to this report. 

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