The search for a submersible that disappeared on the way to the wreckage of the Titanic is hitting close to home for a New Hampshire man
who had the chance to tour the wreck himself nearly two decades ago.
David Christensen said he still keeps in contact with colleagues from that trip and said some of them are out at sea now on the OceanGate's research boat and inside the missing vessel.
"It's a kind of terrifying environment," Christensen said.
In 2005, Christensen signed on to be the head of media operations for an expedition led by friend and colleague G. Michael Harris, who was involved in the Titanic's discovery.
The expedition asked him to tour the entire wreck as part of his job, and he went down in Russian-made Mir 1 research submersibles.
"It was a much hardier submarine or submersible," he said.
Before getting in the water, the crew went over rigorous safety protocols, and Christensen signed what he called a sign-your-life-away document.
"If you were to be stuck, there is no system to rescue you or nothing in play that would be easy to do," he said.
He said the worst-case scenarios were a breach in the vessel – causing it to implode immediately from the pressure of the deep sea – or the vessel getting caught in or under fallen debris.
Christensen said the news of the missing Titan is hitting close to home.
"While the adventure is amazing, it's very, very dangerous," he said. "There is really not much room for error."
He said people don't understand how dangerous the once-in-a-lifetime trip really is.
"I think sometimes, as technology expands, we can take for granted how dangerous these scenarios are," Christensen said.
"It's very unexplored and very dangerous, and I think sometimes we can take that for granted."
Christensen said he has been closely following updates on the search, and he said he – like most of the world – is praying for the crew's safe return home.