I Survived a Near Miss on the “Titan” Sub: How My Dad and I Averted Family Tragedy (Exclusive)

Financier Jay Bloom wanted to give his son a bucket list adventure, but Sean Bloom warned that the sub wasn't safe, leaving the seats open to another family

<p>Jay Bloom</p> Jay and Sean Bloom

Jay Bloom

Jay and Sean Bloom

Two dads wanted to give their sons the thrill of a lifetime by taking them three miles underwater to see the wreck of the famed luxury liner Titanic. Only one son refused to go, telling his father, "this sub cannot survive going that deep in the ocean.”

Sean Bloom, now 21, was correct. On June 18, 2023, Titan, a submersible operated by the expedition company OceanGate, imploded while descending, resulting in the instantaneous deaths of OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, French deep-sea explorer Paul-Henri Nargeolet, British businessman Hamish Harding and Pakistani-British businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman, 19. 

When Las Vegas financier Jay Bloom and his son Sean backed out, they told PEOPLE  it left room for the Dawoods to take their place.

In his own words, as told to PEOPLE’s Susan Young, Sean looks back a year after the tragedy.

I don’t know how time flew by so fast. It’s been a year. We do a lot of crazy stuff on a daily basis, but for those two or three weeks afterward, it was the No. 1 story in the world and everyone was watching it so closely. When they found out what had happened, the implosion and all, all the reporters and news outlets over the world reached out to us.

Now, a year later, we are here honoring those people who died.

It was painfully obvious, especially after I talked to Stockton directly, that there was no way this is going to work. And ultimately, that’s why we decided to not to do it. From the way it was built and what he was saying to me, it all added up into my feeling that this guy was sketchy, the sub is sketchy and the whole operation just seemed kind of weird. It wasn’t like a James Cameron or Robert Ballard operation.

And Stockton was a weird guy.

Every time I asked him important questions, not just about the safety, but about the project itself or who's behind it and who's involved, he dodged them. He flipped it around on me, and got mad just for questioning him. He would say I was young, I didn’t understand the industry. So I said we just aren’t going to go.

Related: 111 Years of Tragedy: How 'Titanic' Obsession Led to 'Titan' Nightmare — and What's Next for Wreck

<p>EyePress News/Shutterstock</p> Titan sub

EyePress News/Shutterstock

Titan sub

He had trouble selling our tickets for a long time. He even reached out to us a month or so later and said, ‘Hey, I’ll drop the price a hundred K.’ And we were like, that’s not the issue.

And then our seats went to the Pakistani businessman and his son at the last second. A hundred percent, if I hadn’t stepped in that would have been us.

We felt bad for the family. One of the interviews we did with Chris Cuomo right before we were about to go on with him, they brought in the mom, and she's just crying. So right before they brought us in, she said that she was glad that we didn’t go forward with it. And we just looked at each other, like, yeah.

Related: New 'Titan' Sub Documentary Highlights Audio of Rhythmic Knocking Heard During Search

<p>Jay Bloom</p> Jay and Sean Bloom

Jay Bloom

Jay and Sean Bloom

We don’t really have survivor’s guilt. I’m very glad that we made the right decision not to go with Stockton. We knew it wasn’t going to work out and it was a sketchy operation.

That guy who is spending $25 million to build his own thing, I think that guy’s an idiot. I don’t understand. Go do something safer that still gives you an adrenaline rush. I just think it’s unnecessary to recreate this.

I’ve had a lot of crazy things happen to me, and the submersible incident was just another moment God has gotten me out of — and He’s gotten me out of a lot.

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<p>Sean Bloom/Instagram</p> Sean Bloom with Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple

Sean Bloom/Instagram

Sean Bloom with Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple

Right now I’m doing a project that’s going to help out a lot of people. There’s a low income housing shortage, a crisis especially in Nevada and it’s going to solve a big problem. It’s a way to help a lot of people.

It was a blessing that we didn’t go. It was a close call and I feel horrible for the family that did go and everyone else that was on that sub. I pray for them and hope their lives get easier.

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