Florida couple drop lawsuit against OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush

A Florida couple who sued Stockton Rush for refusing to refund their $210,000 deposit for a Titanic shipwreck tour have dropped the lawsuit after the OceanGate Expeditions CEO was among five to die in a “catastrophic implosion” last week.

Marc and Sharon Hagle filed a lawsuit in February claiming Rush had repeatedly cancelled a deep-sea dive they had booked on the Titan submersible in 2018.

After Rush was confirmed to have died on the Titan during an ill-fated trip to the famed North Atlantic shipwreck on Sunday 18 June, the couple said the “honour, respect and dignity” of the victims were more important than their claim.

Follow the latest updates on the missing Titanic submarine here

“Like most around the world, we have watched the coverage of the OceanGate Titan capsule with great concern and enormous amount of sadness and compassion for the families of those who lost their lives,” the Hagles said in a statement toFox 35.

“In light of these tragic events, we have informed our attorneys to withdraw all legal actions against Stockton,” the statement read.

“We honour their zest for life, as well as their commitment to the exploration of our oceans.”

Marc and Sharon Hagle’s dispute with OceanGate began in 2016 when they signed a contract and paid deposits in the hopes of becoming among the first of the deep-sea exploration company’s paying customers.

In mid-2017, the Hagles became suspicious that the submersible vessel, then known as the Cyclops 2, was not going to be ready by the planned departure date, according to the lawsuit filed in Orange County.

OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush had been accused of defrauding Florida couple Marc and Sharon Hagle

The court filing states that the Hagles wanted to pull out of the expedition, and requested a refund of their $20,000 deposits.

They claim that Mr Rush visited them at their Florida home in September 2017 to convince them the trip would be going ahead as planned.

Mr Rush described “what could be expected during the adventure”, they claimed.

In January 2018, the couple alleged they were forced to pay the full deposit of $210,258 to secure two berths on the Titan.

Expeditions were then repeatedly cancelled, and when they requested a refund in 2019 were told they had to agree to go on a Titan dive in 2021.

They further alleged that OceanGate had failed to hold their deposit in a separate escrow account.

The Titan vanished without a trace around 100 minutes into a 4,000m dive to the Titanic’s wreck on Sunday 18 June.

A debris field was detected by a remotely operated vehicle on Thursday, and the US Coast Guard later revealed the vessel suffered a catastrophic implosion, killing all five aboard, soon after it submerged.

A US Navy acoustics system detected an explosion near to the Titanic wreck on Sunday, but aircraft, ships and underwater drones continued to search for the vessel for another four days.

Rush died along with Pakistani father and son Shahzada and Suleman Dawood, British billionaire Hamish Harding and prominent French diver Paul-Henri Nargeolet.

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