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By Narissa Subramoney

Deputy digital news editor


Rich people problems: why netizens dragged the Titanic tourist submersible mission

Sympathy or even a shred of empathy for the five-man crew is hard to find on the internet at this point.


The massive search operation to locate the Titan tourist submersible is underway with a French research ship that is able to search deep underwater, arriving near the Titanic wreck on Thursday.

The Titan submersible descended towards the Titanic wreck on Sunday morning, but the vessel lost contact with its support ship on the surface just two hours later.

The sub is carrying British billionaire Hamish Harding, Pakistani tycoon Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman, the CEO of OceanGate Expeditions Stockton Rush, and French submarine operator Paul-Henri Nargeolet.

Nargeolet is the director of a deep ocean research project dedicated to the Titanic

Passengers aboard the Titan submersible
Hamish Harding, Stockton Rush, Paul-Henri Nargeolet, Suleman Dawood and his father Shahzada Dawood. Picture: AFP

The Titanic wreck sits at a depth of around 3 800 metres, making it particularly difficult to reach.

Based on the sub’s capacity to hold up to 96 hours of emergency air, rescuers estimate that the passengers may have already run out of oxygen.

ALSO READ: Rescue teams race to find submersible missing near Titanic wreck

Rescue efforts have focused on figuring out the source of underwater noises detected late Sunday.

The meme’s get brutal

Sympathy or even a modicum of empathy for the five-man crew is hard to find on the world wide web at this point.

The closest I’ve come was stumbling upon a response to a TikTok meme video that read, “Lord pls bring these rich ppl back to the surface so they can see all these memes and learn a valuable lesson”.

As predicted, the internet delivered on its well-earned reputation of being a digital minefield of brutal, insensitive reactions and condemnations with just a handful of memes as seen below.

Titan submersible meme, man with hands on his hips.
Source: Facebook
Titan submersible meme
Source: Facebook
Titan submersible meme
Source: Facebook
Titan Submersible meme
Source: Facebook
TItan submersible meme
Source: Facebook

What appeared to collectively astound social media users, was how billionaires were duped into paying $250 000 (R4.5 million) per person, to sit criss-crossed in a mini-submarine controlled by a cheap game remote.

Another strong critique, and a possible reason why people are emotionally untouched by the unfolding drama, was aimed at how rich people are able to maintain outlandish lifestyles in the era of the worst cost of living crisis in human history, where masses of ordinary people in poverty (or povvos) were battling to make ends meet.

Some even argued the Titan submersible mission provides a solid argument for why rich people needed to pay higher taxes.

Many users also took aim at the false notion that rich people are inherently smarter than people with lesser net worth.

The billionaires and Titanic researcher, Paul-Henri Nargeolet, aboard the DIY-looking submarine failed to interrogate the quality of the OceanGate vessel and its substandard engineering, which included being navigated by a knock-off PlayStation controller, to not having any window to view the wreckage, except for the toilet. (You can take a tour of the wreckage for free on YouTube).

WATCH: Inside the Titan

@titanic_empire Titan sub before it Went Missing, inside of the Titan #titan #titanic #titanic1912 #titanicwreck #250k #new #news #submarine ♬ Originalton – Titanic_Empire

WATCH: ‘Live your life with the confidence of a white unqualified man’

@culturework Lord grant me the confidence of this man bc the red flags are blinding #titan #submarine #fyp ♬ original sound – culturework

WATCH: Utter glee at rich people problems

@andrewskidmore I forgot to charger my controller #cyclops2 #sub #billionare #oceangate #taitanic #billhader #snl #unsinkable #eattherich #lostatsea #macgyver #ocean #trending ♬ original sound – Kaitlyn

WATCH: Rich people are not inherently smarter than poor people

@tayyy.jpeg rip to those people but also ???? #submarine #fyp ♬ original sound – It’s Tay

By Thursday, as more divers and sea rescue operators joined the search, Celine Dion was trending on Twitter. We suspect it has something to do with her hit song from the Titanic movie.

WATCH: Scenes from Titanic 2

@eltoro.don Now I love adventure , but $250,000 😩 to get in a submarine and go that deep in the ocean. I use GOOGLE ! #fyp #explorepage✨ #titanic ♬ My Heart Will Go On (Love Theme from "Titanic") – Céline Dion
@stephenshaw386 Too soon? #celinedion #titanic #submarine ♬ My Heart Will Go On (Love Theme from "Titanic") – Céline Dion

Additional reporting AFP

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