‘You know what you’re getting into’: Man who took trip on now-missing submersible shares experience

The clock is winding down to rescue five people on a submersible that disappeared deep into the North Atlantic during a trip to see the ruins of the Titanic.

The submersible “Titan” is made by the Everett-based company, OceanGate Expeditions.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the vessel was carrying five people -- a pilot and four passengers -- when it went out on Sunday morning, losing contact roughly an hour and 45 minutes into its dive 900 miles east of Cape Cod.

Simpsons writer Mike Reiss said he was on the Titan 11 months ago with his wife. They took the same trip to the Titanic.

We spoke to him about his experience and thoughts on the current situation.

“So, it was a friend who lives in Everett that wrote to us and says, ‘I heard about something that sounds right up your alley. This guy in Seattle is building his own sub,’” said Reiss.

He said they took dives with the company prior to their adventure.

“So then we knew he was doing this Titanic dive and we signed up for it.”

Reiss said once the Titan reached the Titanic, they were pressed for time.

“It was a real struggle to get to the Titanic. Our time was very, very short because on top of the danger of being two and a half miles down, there was a hurricane coming down at sea level,” said Reiss. “We really had this tight window. You sort of land at the bottom of the ocean and then go ‘all right, where’s the Titanic?’ We know it’s around here somewhere.”

They were able to take about 20 minutes’ worth of photos while on the voyage. He shared some of them with us.

Reiss said he does a podcast, called “What am I doing here?” about his travels and has done one about this specific expedition.

“As I was rereading just 11 months ago in this very same sub, and I see over and over on every dive we took they lost communication. Which is just one of the problems with this thing,” said Reiss.

That being said, Reiss said that anyone aboard the Titan was aware of the dangers before taking the trip.

“I am sure that the world is very worried and that kind of thing, but something to know having gone through it is that you know going in how very dangerous this is.”

“So, before you even go on you sign this long, long waiver that mentions possible death three times on the first page. So… you know what you’re getting into.”

That includes Reiss and his wife.

“In fact, when I stepped onto it, I just knew in a part of my mind was going, ‘Welp, this could be the end.’”

He said the crew members with the company are very nice people and he hopes everyone is OK.

“It’s a very creepy feeling to think that if they’re alive down at the bottom of the ocean or something like that, and just knowing that, I don’t think there is a way to get them out of this situation like that, said Reiss. “And they’ll just be sitting there for three or four days before the oxygen runs out. It’s a very, very scary thought.”

“Everyone’s hoping and praying. I just go… I know having been in this situation… it’s very difficult. You know, I’m hoping, too.”

“It’s not any bad or reflection on Stockton Rush. It’s his company and he designed it, but it’s just we are all part of this ongoing experiment,” said Reiss.