Columbus couple discusses possibility of being on missing submarine

Published: Jun. 21, 2023 at 6:09 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Two Columbus natives say they are lucky to be alive, as they were slated to take that trip to the wrecked Titanic where five crew members are currently missing at sea.

In a News Leader 9 exclusive, our Ashlee Williams talked to the couple who are grateful they are not on that submarine, but praying for their friends who are.

Jake Koehler of Columbus is a famous scuba diver who dives in the Chattahoochee River and other bodies of water across the world to find treasures, return them to their owners, and document it all on social media. Taking his adventures a step farther, he and his girlfriend, Kyndall Johnson, got the chance to take a voyage to see the Titanic this month.

The two boarded a ship owned and operated by Oceangates Expeditions on May 29th, excited for an adventure of a lifetime and share their journey with their millions of followers.

But then, things took a turn.

“I was like ‘We’re coming up no matter what... they’ll find us.’ Long story short, the submarine is on a platform, it drops down to 30 feet, and we were going to go off the platform, but we decided not to due to the fog rolling in,” Koehler said. “They called it, we raised the platform back up, and that was the extent of my dive...”

Still, he was able to get vibrant footage right over the Titanic ship.

The diver explained that he fully trusted in the abilities of the sub’s pilot, Stockton Rush, who is now lost at sea. Koehler said Oceangates Expeditions’ workers are knowledgeable and prepared during these voyages, and he understood what he signed up for.

“Stockton Rush is inside of the submarine right now, and everyday we had a meeting, ate breakfast lunch dinner with him everyday,” he told us. “I got close with everyone, but I didn’t know him before. It’s really sad to see the situation unfold.. I hope they do come up. You just never know.. they gave me everything I needed to feel comfortable.”

Kyndall Johnson had plans to go on the second dive with Jake if the elements would have been in their favor. She said she and Jake remain holding on to hope as time... and oxygen are running out for their new friends lost at sea.

“There’s a lot of negative stuff out there right now about Oceangate, but I think our main focus right now should be finding the crew members that are inside, and rescuing them and getting them back home to their families,” Johnson said. “I know Stockton’s wife is on board that ship right now. She is literally on the ship above the Titanic looking for her husband right now. These are real people and they have lives, and I think that should be our real concern.”

Jake and Kyndall returned home on June 6th. They ask everyone keep these five divers in your thoughts and prayers.