Shocking revelations against OceanGate, the company responsible for the submersible lost near the Titanic wreckage, are all anyone can talk about, but I found something that left my jaw on the floor. The wife of the submersible pilot and CEO of Oceangate Stockton Rush, Wendy Rush, is the descendant of some of the most famous Titanic victims.
The situation is wild and ongoing, so I’ll catch you up. The initial disappearance was on June 18, and it’s all anyone on the internet can talk about. The company operating the sub, OceanGate, was in the business of extreme tourism for the wealthy. Its CEO Stockton Rush was on board and piloting the craft on a visit to the Titanic wreckage deep in the freezing Atlantic Ocean. He is married to Wendy. A seat cost a whopping $250,000, and four other passengers were on board: Hamish Harding, a British businessman who had previously gone to space with Jeff Bezos with the Blue Origin rocket company, Paul-Henri Nargeolet, director of RMS Titanic Inc. who had been on 35 expeditions to the wreckage, and father and son Shahzada Dawood and Suleman Dawood. Shahzada was a prominent Pakistani businessman from one of the country’s wealthiest families.
Communication with the sub was lost an hour and 45 minutes into the voyage, and the world banded together in attempted rescue efforts, with the media closely following their every move. They had an emergency oxygen supply, but it would only last 96 hours, a window that has since passed.
Journalists and internet sleuths have started to dig into the company and its employees, which is how Wendy Straus’s shocking (and ironic) ancestry was revealed. If you’re a fan of James Cameron’s award-winning film based on the tragedy, Titanic, you may recall a heartbreaking scene of an old couple choosing to face death in each other’s arms.
This moment was actually based on Isador and Ida Straus, two first-class passengers on the ship. The couple had been married for over four decades, and were among the wealthiest on board. The New York Times confirmed through archival records that Wendy is actually their great-great-granddaughter; the direct descent of one of their daughters, Minnie.
According to The National Archives, the couple was on their way home after a visit to Germany, where they were both from. When the ship began to sink, and passengers were being loaded onto lifeboats, Ida refused to board without her husband. Her maid Ellen, who survived the tragedy, recalled that Ida told him, “Where you go, I go.” Ida then gave Ellen her fur coat, and they were last seen holding hands on the deck.
The irony of this news is eerie, to say the least. Wendy Rush had been to the Titanic wreckage alongside her husband three times but was not on the most recent expedition. They were married in 1986, according to a wedding announcement in the New York Times, while Wendy, whose maiden name is Weil, was working as a pilot and substitute teacher in Lancaster, CA. They do not have any children. She was a Princeton graduate, and her LinkedIn profile confirms that she was also involved in Oceangate as the company’s communications director and contributed to its charitable foundation, the Oceangate Foundation, as a board member. She has remained silent on her husband’s disappearance.
There was hope for a successful rescue mission when mysterious “banging noises” were heard in the search area, but experts were unable to verify the source. However, all five passengers are presumed dead as of June 22, after a remote-controlled underwater search vehicle found debris consistent with a catastrophic explosion.