‘We were on that same exact ship 16 days ago:’ GA couple talks about Titan submersible that imploded

ATLANTA — Channel 2 Action News received new details on the tragedy near the Titanic. The Coast Guard said the Submersible traveling there imploded and five people on board are now presumed dead.

An underwater drone found a debris field on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, that included parts from the “Titan” Sub. The U.S. Navy believes the sub imploded Sunday, shortly after it took off and that’s why it lost contact.

A local couple said they were on the same ship two weeks ago.

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Jake Koehler and Kyndall Johnson enjoy the ocean and everything about it. Their passion to explore the sea led them to what they call an “adventure of a lifetime.”

“We found ourselves in Newfoundland teaming up with Ocean Explorations to do a dive on the Titanic. We did go on Mission 3. Everything you’re seeing on the news right now is from Mission 5,” said Jake ‘Scuba Jake’ Koehler.

Their first trip led them miles and miles into the ocean, so they decided to do it again.

“We were on that exact ship 16 days ago,” said Kyndall Johnson.

This time they wanted to see the Titanic wreckage, so they made plans to make the same trip on the same submersible that the U.S. Navy believes imploded on Sunday.

But days before, things and plans changed.

“Who knows, if everything lined up, weather conditions, I mean, we could have been in that exact same submersible and the outcome,” said Koehler.


It was an outcome no one was expecting. For days Jake and Kyndall were watching and hoping for the best for the people they just met days before on their previous mission.

“It’s just a gut-wrenching feeling. You know, these are people that we spent breakfast, lunch, and dinner with for nine days,” said Koehler.

Koehler said they went through vigorous training before their trip.

“When I first met Mr. Stockton, the owner of Oceangate Explorations, I was inside the submarine and we were doing test dives. I asked him questions, ‘What happens if the submersible sinks and if we run out of power? I felt so confident that no matter what it’s coming up,” said Koehler.

“We knew all the risks. They were very upfront with us about all of the possibilities. We all signed the same contract,” said Johnson.

“Our hearts are obviously broken. These are people that we didn’t know before this expedition, but we’ve got to know. Stocken and PH both were great people to us. They were so sweet,” said Johnson.

One of the people on board worked for a company in Peachtree Corners.

Channel 2 Action News spoke to P.H. Nargeolet’s boss about the search. Jessica Sanders of ‘RMS Titanic Inc’ said she is devastated.

“The man known as ‘Mr. Titanic’, wasn’t just one of the leading experts in the world, he was also like family. The Maritime world has lost an iconic and inspirational leader in deep-sea exploration and we have lost a dear and treasured friend,” said Sanders.

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Larry Spruill

Larry Spruill, WSB-TV

Larry Spruill Jr. has been part of the WSB-TV family since March 2022. He is an Emmy Nominated Journalist with over 12 years of news and storytelling experience.