Rory Golden, who has completed five expeditions to the Titanic wreck site, spoke about the tragic OceanGate expedition for the first time in an interview with RTÉ's Claire Byrne on Wednesday, June 12.

The incident, which took place on June 18, 2023, was "traumatic" for the family and crew on board the mothership, Dublin native Golden told Byrne. 

"We were initially not that worried because communications can break down," Golden said.

However, he said the crew became more anxious as the day went on, adding that the wives of two passengers were on board at the time in addition to the daughter of another. 

"We had to be strong and brave for others on board," Golden said.

"I warned people to be prepared for a media onslaught." 

He added that the family and crew "lived in hope" for four days before debris from the submersible was discovered, stating that it was almost a relief to find the wreckage.

"When it was finally announced that the wreckage had been discovered, in many ways, it was a relief. We had this dread thought of all our friends suffering down there, getting colder, running out of oxygen. At least we knew that they had died instantly and that they wouldn't have known anything about it." 

“I warned people to be prepared for a media onslaught.”

Experienced Irish deep sea diver and advisor Rory Golden was aboard the ship that launched the ill-fated Titan submersible. It’s the first time he’s spoken to the media since the tragedy last June.

— RTÉ Radio 1 (@RTERadio1) June 12, 2024

Golden is set to take part in another expedition to the wreck site next month, when RMS Titanic Inc., the salvor-in-possession of the Titanic, carries out an unmanned expedition during the first week of July. 

The expedition will use high-resolution imaging technology to provide the most advanced and accurate images of the wreck site and debris field to date.

The company also hopes to identify artifacts at risk of being lost that can be targeted for recovery and conservation during future expeditions. 

RMS Titanic Inc. has carried out eight expeditions to the Titanic wreckage site since 1987, last completing an expedition in 2010. 

The upcoming expedition will set out from Rhode Island in July, with experts believing that July will provide the most favorable weather to conduct research at the site. 

The expedition will feature a vessel provided by expedition partner C-Innovations equipped with two of the company's remotely operated vehicles, providing the first-ever end-to-end mapping image of the wreck site and debris field. 

Jessica Sanders, President of RMS Titanic Inc., said the upcoming expedition will provide the most detailed look at the current state of the wreck site. 

"The 2024 expedition will not only provide the most advanced and detailed look at the current state of the wreck site and debris field but will also allow us to assess which artifacts may be at risk of being lost forever," Sanders said in a statement. 

"By utilizing the latest imaging and deep-sea technologies, we will get an accurate assessment of some of the most cherished artifacts, including the Marconi Radio, identify new artifacts, and we hope to shine a light on new discoveries that have never been seen before." 

Golden will be onboard the mothership during the upcoming expedition and said technology has changed enormously since RMS Titanic Inc. last carried out an expedition. 

"It's 14 years since a very comprehensive survey of the ocean area around the wreck site was done. Technology has jumped in leaps and bounds since then," Golden told Claire Byrne. 

"This is not a manned expedition like last year. This is a scientific survey being done with state-of-the-art technology." 

Golden said he has been on five previous expeditions to the site since 2000, adding that he has observed significant decay at the wreck site. 

Golden said he will be onboard to identify items found on the seabed, while he is also in charge of "morale". 

"Every expedition needs an Irish person on board to keep things flowing," he told Claire Byrne.