In a surprising and controversial statement, former U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson expressed his pride and admiration for the victims of the OceanGate Titan sub disaster, claiming that they “died in a cause” that advanced human knowledge. Johnson’s remarks were published in an article for the Daily Mail, where he defended the tragic event as emblematic of the British spirit and dismissed criticism from what he referred to as “the Leftie Twittersphere.”
Johnson began by acknowledging that some may view the expedition led by Hamish Harding and his team as foolish, advocating for regulations to prevent such experimental technology. However, he firmly disagreed with this perspective, asserting that the individuals involved were heroes. While acknowledging the risks and warnings associated with the venture, Johnson argued that every great advancement in human history requires experimentation, even if the equipment used may seem inadequate in hindsight.
The former prime minister applauded Harding and his colleagues for their attempt to popularize undersea travel and democratize exploration of the ocean floor. Johnson concluded his article by stating that the victims had perished in a noble cause, pushing the boundaries of human knowledge and experience, which he believed to be a quintessentially British endeavor that filled him with pride.
The OceanGate Titan submersible, which lost contact with the surface during its descent to the Titanic shipwreck on June 18, resulted in the tragic deaths of five individuals. Despite initial hopes for a rescue, debris from the submersible was discovered days later, indicating that it had imploded during its descent.
Critics had raised concerns about the safety of the OceanGate Titan submersible prior to the incident. It was constructed using off-the-shelf parts and controlled with an old Logitech game controller, leading to questions about its reliability. David Lochridge, the former Director of Marine Operations at OceanGate, allegedly voiced safety concerns about the submersible and was subsequently fired from the company.
OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, Hamish Harding, explorer Paul-Henri Nargeolet, businessman Shahzada Dawood, and Dawood’s son Suleman Dawood all tragically lost their lives in the disaster. Rush, who perished aboard the submersible, had previously expressed a dismissive attitude toward safety concerns, suggesting that prioritizing safety could hinder progress.
“Lefties sneer. But those brave souls on the submarine died in a cause – pushing out the frontiers of human knowledge – that’s typically British and that fills me with pride.”
In the article, Johnson wrote, “I know there will be many who will say that [Hamish] Harding and his fellow adventurers were foolish, and that we need regulation against such experimental technology,” before referencing “the Leftie Twittersphere” and its criticism of the voyage.
“Let me tell you how I feel about those on the Titanic expedition. I think they are heroes,” he continued. “Yes, there were risks, and warnings. But every great advance must inevitably involve experiment, and equipment that can seem, in retrospect, dangerously inadequate.”
Johnson argued, “Hamish Harding and his fellows were trying to take a new step for humanity, to popularise undersea travel, to democratise the ocean floor,” before concluding, “Harding and his friends died in a cause — pushing out the frontiers of human knowledge and experience — that is typically British, and that fills me with pride.”