‘Ripe For An Investigation’: OceanGate Could Face Federal Probe Amid Worldwide Attention Of Disaster

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OceanGate Expeditions could face consequences after five people died in one of the company’s submarines, a legal expert told Daily Mail.

Ritter told the outlet on Thursday that although passengers signed a waiver, the company is not necessarily absolved from all liabilities related to the deadly tragedy.

“The question of whether OceanGate could face criminal liability has yet to be answered, but some government or perhaps a combination of governments will definitely investigate this tragedy,” criminal defense attorney Joshua Ritter told the outlet. (RELATED: ‘Catastrophic Implosion’: Coast Guard Says All Sub Passengers Lost During ‘Event’ That Occurred Above Titanic)

The five people on the submarine comprised OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush and four tourists, each of whom paid $250,000 for a trip to the wreckage of the Titanic. The Titan submersible dropped out of contact on Sunday, and the sub’s tail cone of the Titan submersible was found on Thursday morning after days of searching for potential survivors onboard. It is believed that the underwater vehicle imploded, instantly killing everyone onboard.

Ritter said that he expects the United States government to launch a probe into the U.S.-based OceanGate and that the situation is “ripe for an investigation.”

“The U.S. government will most likely conclude that it has jurisdiction to investigate, even though the company operated in international waters,” Ritter explained, adding that the waivers would not shield OceanGate from criminal charges if the probe “reveals the participants were misled about the risks or pressured to agree to activities they would normally avoid.”

Former federal prosecutor Christine Adams warned that a long investigation could precede any actual charges. “After an investigation, if U.S. authorities find evidence pointing to criminal recklessness or negligence in violation of a federal statute, prosecutors could bring charges,” Adams added.