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One World with Zain Asher
Titan Sub Debris Found; Questions Arise About Greek Authorities' Response To Boat Tragedy; Sierra Leone Braces For Elections; Victor Wembanyama Up For A Huge NBA Career. Aired 12-1p ET
Aired June 23, 2023 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ZAIN ASHER, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone, I'm Zain Asher from New York and this is ONE WORLD. Questions are mounting following the catastrophe that
ended the lives of five people in a submersible deep in the North Atlantic Ocean. The U.S. Navy says it detected sounds consistent with an implosion
on Sunday around the same time the Titan tourist vessel went missing on its way to view wreckage from the Titanic.
A senior U.S. Navy official tells CNN it informed crews on the scene that the information helped narrow down the search area. He added that any
chance of saving a life was worth continuing the mission. However, all hope was lost four days later on Thursday when debris from the submersible was
located just a few hundred meters from the Titanic wreckage. Since the Titan disappeared, we've learned about warning signs and concerns over the
submersible's experimental design and the development process, as well. Some members of the scientific community say that it's time for a pause.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL GUILLEN, SCIENTIST AND JOURNALIST: We need to put a stop to all trips to the Titanic. This is what we did when the shuttle Challenger
exploded, we shut down the entire U.S. Space Program. We need to do it least that now.
Paula Newton has been following the story from Halifax, Canada, and joins us live now. So, Paula, what a difference a whole day makes. I mean, this
time yesterday you and I were talking and there was still so much hope. There was also concern about how much the people on board that submersible
may have suffered.
We were talking about the fact that it may have been cold, it may have been dark, that there was dwindling supplies of oxygen, of course, and food as
well. The fact that they likely did not suffer, Paula, the fact that it happened just so quickly, obviously talking about the implosion here. Does
that give loved ones, does that give people some degree of solace and comfort?
PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, absolutely it must, obviously, given what you just described and what we thought perhaps these passengers
were going through. Having said that, there are still so many questions for the families. And as you just pointed out, for the wider community at large
to figure out, should this have been a submersible that was actually launched this way to that kind of extreme depth?
With what is really an innovative type of submersible made from carbon fiber and titanium and some have questioned whether or not that could
really be bear the pressure of so many dives that had been already down there dozens of times. I want to point out though, Zain, that as you -- we
were talking about at the top here, given what we know now that it was a catastrophic implosion until they confirmed that that's what happened,
there was no reason to stop what was a robust international effort.
What really was the turning point here and we all knew it yesterday morning when that remote operated vehicle went more than two miles to the bottom
near that Titanic wreck and could say categorically either they would see the Titan there or, in fact, unfortunately they found the debris.
What is going on now? Well, everyone has pulled back in terms of the search and rescue effort that is aircraft that was in the air and that is also
ships. There will be certain ships including the so-called mother ship of that Titan, the Polar Prince, which should be back in St. John's either
late tonight or tomorrow morning. Again, a lot of information to be gained from that shift because they are the ones that lost communication with the
Titan in the first place.
But obviously, a pause here, right, for the families, for the victims, for thinking about what their lives meant and obviously their commitment to
deep-sea exploration and what that meant to them and what it has contributed to our understanding at what happens at those depths in the
ASHER: Obviously people do want more answers and even though obviously we know that it met a tragic end, the investigation into actually what
happened here continues. Pauline Newton, live for us. Thank you so much.
The Editor-in-Chief of "Travel Weekly" was set to go on a dive in the Titan submersible but ultimately, did not. Arnie Weissman says before that he got
some very concerning information about or rather from Stockton Rush who's the CEO of Ocean Gate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARNIE WEISSMAN, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF "TRAVEL WEEKLY": One night we went on the stern of the ship and just sat and talked and he told me sort of his
life story And part of that was that when he got the carbon fiber from Boeing and he said this was material that had originally been planned for
aircraft use for building airplanes, but that it had passed a date that it could be used for that. And so, his implication was they had stuff they
wanted to get rid of, but it was passed itself by day, passed a date that it could be used for that.
And so, his implication was they had stuff they wanted to get rid of, but it was past its sell-by date.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: As new information comes to light, criticism of Ocean Gate and its leader is growing. The company's co-founder cautioned against any Russian
judgment, though. CNN's Gabe Cohen has that part of the story.
GABE COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Former Ocean Gate CEO Stockton Rush and its ill-fated Titan submersible facing intense scrutiny. Rush, who
perished in the Titan, had a reputation as a visionary, but also as a self- proclaimed rule-breaker.
STOCKTON RUSH, FORMER OCEAN GATE CEO: I think it was General MacArthur who said, you're remembered for the rules you break. And you know, I've broken
some rules to make this. I think I've broken them with logic and good engineering behind me.
COHEN (voice-over): The Co-Founder of Ocean Gate, Guillermo Sohnlein says he had complete faith in Rush and would have gone on the Titanic expedition
himself if he'd had the chance.
GUILLERMO SOHNLEIN, CO-FOUNDER, OCEAN GATE: There's always a risk of catastrophic implosion. It's something that we know about. It's something
that we plan for, plan against. And it's just a known risk.
COHEN (voice-over): DJ Virnig who's a subcontractor for Ocean Gate, says Russia's experimental design passed testing for the pressures that would be
found at Titanic's depth.
DOUG VIRNIG, SUBCONTRACTOR: Then the question is, well, if you do that repeatedly, then what happens? So, these are the sorts of questions that if
you have a long research and development program, you start answering. But if you really are pushing the envelope, there's no time to, you know,
you're answering those questions in real time.
COHEN (voice-over): Will Conan, who chairs the Submarine Committee of the Marine Technology Society, says he wrote to Rush concerned Ocean Gate
wasn't following the same safety standards as other vessels. In his 2018 letter, first obtained by "The New York Times", Conan warned Rush about
what he called the company's experimental approach that could have serious consequences.
CNN has previously reported that two former Ocean Gate employees, who were not engineers, separately raised safety concerns years ago about the hull
of the Titan sub. The hull was made of carbon fiber composite, the type of material used in spacecraft. Filmmaker James Cameron, who's made more than
30 dives to the wreckage of the Titanic himself, says the danger of using carbon fiber composite is known within the engineering community.
JAMES CAMERON, DIRECTOR, "TITANIC": We always understood that this was the wrong material for submersible hulls, because with each pressure cycle, you
can have progressive damage. It's quite insidious, and that I think lulled them into a sense of confidence and led to this tragedy.
ASHER: Later on this hour, we're going to be hearing more of CNN's interview with James Cameron, including when he says that he knew that
there was likely an implosion. The Titan tragedy came up during Christiane Amanpour's exclusive interview with Former President Barack Obama on
Thursday. Mr. Obama spoke about the scale of media coverage in that disaster when compared with reporting on the migrant boat that capsized off
of Greece last week. That accident claimed at least 82 lives and left hundreds more missing. I want you to listen to what the former president
had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Right now, we have 24-hour coverage and I understand it of this submarine, the submersible that tragically is
right now lost at the bottom of the sea. At the same time, right here, just off the coast of Greece, we had 700 people dead, 700 migrants who were
apparently being smuggled into here. And it's made news, but it's not dominating in the same way.
ASHER: There are also questions about how Greek authorities responded to the migrant ship accident that Obama was just referring to there. CNN's
Jomana Karadsheh has been investigating and joins me live now. Jomana, of course, there does appear, I mean, let's be honest, I mean, there does
appear to be a double standard here.
You think about this Greek tragedy with 500 people or so, still at this point unaccounted for. Not only has there been a lot less interest, but far
fewer resources, financial resources, invested and also a lot of questions as to whether or not enough was done to actually find and help and rescue
the people that were lost at sea. Jomana, just walk us through there.
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That means in more than a week since this incident and more questions than answers right now, great authorities
saying that they are still investigating this and you know year after year, Zain.
Summer after summer we continue to report on these catastrophic shipwrecks in the Mediterranean and this one seems to be one of the deadliest in years
and years. As you mentioned, at least 82 people confirmed dead. Hundreds are still missing, presumed to be dead right now. But with all the
questions about what really happened, how this all unfolded, this, at this point, appears to have been more than just an avoidable tragedy.
We have been investigating this, and based on first-hand accounts from survivors, from families of survivors and victims, activists and combining
that with open source and marine traffic data, we've tried to piece together how this tragedy unfolded. And it raises really serious questions
about the official Greek version of events.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): The desperate, exhausting wait for the promise of a new life in Europe. These Pakistanis crammed into a small room by
smugglers in Libya. Some of them believed to be among the hundreds presumed dead. These last images before they embarked on their ill-fated journey.
About 750 refugees and migrants were packed into this fishing vessel bound for Italy before it capsized off the coast of Greece. Only a hundred and
four survived, and with them the harrowing accounts of what they'd been through.
UNKNOWN (through translator): I can still hear the voice of a woman calling out for help. You would swim and move the floating bodies out of
KARADSHEH (voice-over): The Syrian survivor spoke to us from Greece. He asked for his identity to be concealed for security reasons. His and other
accounts obtained by CNN not only contradict the official Greek version of events, but point to fault on the part of the Greek Coast Guard.
KARADSHEH (on-camera): Greek authorities, who watched and were in communication with the boat for an entire day, insist that it was not in
distress and refused assistance. Our investigation tells a very different story.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): Just before 1 p.m. on June 13th, the boat was first spotted by the E.U.'s Border Patrol Agency Frontex, which says it
notified Greek authorities of a quote, heavily overcrowded fishing vessel. Those on board were in distress, lost at sea with no food or water for
days, according to survivors and activists in touch with the boat throughout the day.
At about 7 PM, an activist in Italy recorded one of the calls capturing the horror on board. As activists repeatedly relayed calls for a rescue to
authorities, two merchant vessels approached the boat, instructed by the Greek Coast Guard to provide the boat with food and water. But as darkness
fell, at 10:40 PM, a Greek Coast Guard vessel moves in, now the only ship on the scene.
Three hours later, the haunting last words from the boat to the activist group alarm phone, hello, my friend, the ship you send is, and the line
cuts out. What happened next is likely to raise more questions as the investigations continue. Survivors tell us it was a botched attempt by the
Greek Coast Guard to tow their boat that caused it to capsize.
UNKNOWN (through translator): They decided to throw us a rope. So, the guys at the front tied it. They towed us. The boat tilted to the right and
everyone was screaming. People began falling into the sea and the boat capsized. People couldn't get out from under the boat.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): The Greek Coast Guard have declined our request for an interview, but in previous comments, they've denied towing the
trawler, saying, when the boat capsized, we were not even next to it. How could we be towing it? Instead, they blamed a, quote, shift in weight,
probably caused by panic.
Greek authorities have been accused of systematically and violently pushing back migrants and refugees. Video like this one released by the Turkish
government captured the now well-documented practice Greece denies. This deadly incident is not just about what they may have done. It's also about
what they didn't do.
VINCENT COCHETEL, UNHCR SPECIAL ENVOY FOR THE CENTRAL MEDITERRANEAN: It was clear it wasn't sea-worthy. It was clear that it is part of a
trafficking movement from Libya to Europe. So, the authorities had a responsibility to intervene to save life.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): As Fortress Europe hardens its immigration policies to deter some of the world's most vulnerable, this disaster will
almost certainly not be the last.
KARADSHEH (on-camera): And Zain, I mean, now, as we're seeing these strategies over the past few years by European countries to try and deter
refugees and migrants from reaching their borders and shores not working. What we're seeing is the emergence of these new patterns, really
disturbing, really worrying and much more dangerous according to U.N. officials and according to NGOs.
They're warning that what we're seeing right now is more and of these fishing boats leaving from eastern Libya. The traffickers and smugglers are
trying these new routes, 600 percent increase in these departures from eastern Libya towards Italy. But what is also really disturbing is we're
hearing from officials is coastal countries, they say, including Greece, are accused of not only the practice that we have reported on in the past
and that is pushing back these migrant and refugee boats.
What they're also doing is facilitating their movement onwards towards Italy, not wanting to deal with rescues or disembarkation. What they're
doing is providing them with fuel, food, water, and pushing them onwards towards Italy that this year is dealing with a really high number of
arrivals. And the concern is, we are seeing these new patterns emerge is that the situation in the Mediterranean is only going to get worse and
we're going to be seeing more catastrophic loss of life in the months ahead.
ASHER: Let's hope not. Jomana Karadsheh, live for us there. Thank you so much. All right, turning now to Russia's war in Ukraine, where the battle
may be slow, but it's certainly far from over, and Kyiv is urging patience from Western allies. A senior Ukrainian defense official claims the main
strike in the country's counteroffensive is still ahead.
Some reserves currently being held back from the fight. And in words echoing the president one day earlier, the Ukrainian prime minister
stresses the advance is going to take time, and it shouldn't be seen through the lens of a Hollywood movie.
All right, still to come. Voters in Sierra Leone will cast their ballots on Saturday in a crucial election coming at a very crucial time. We'll explain
what's at stake for voters ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: Sierra Leone is gearing up for its presidential elections tomorrow, hoping to win a second term. Incumbent President Julius Maada Bio is
promising to boost the economy and create jobs. He lashed out at the opposition at a rally on Tuesday.
JULIUS MAADA BIO, SIERRA LEONEAN PRESIDENT: We made a promise also, and we deliver all the promises we'll make. We talk, and we do and also, APC also,
they talk but they don't know how to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: In all, 12 candidates are running to replace Bio, including challenger Samura Kamara of the All People's Congress, or APC. He has
criticized Bio's handling of the economy, tapping into voter frustration over high inflation and unemployment, as well. Kamara narrowly lost to Bio
in the 2018 election. This time he's promising to satisfy voters' appetite for change.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAMURA KAMARA, APC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The appetite for people to come out and vote is bigger than ever before. It's trillion today. Because
people are tired of this regime. They want to see change. The regime change is not coming from Samura Kamara. It's coming from the people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: If no candidate wins 55 percent of the vote, the top two vote- getters will head to a run-off. A cost of living crisis and a stagnant economy may be the key issues in this election, but they're certainly not
the only ones. CNN's Stephanie Busari has more on the high-stakes decision voters in Sierra Leone are facing right now.
STEPHANIE BUSARI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These Sierra Leoneans are calling out for change as the West African state heads to the polls to
elect a new president on June 24. Among the issues, citizens are battling, a soaring cost of living and massive unemployment, with inflation sitting
at around 37 percent in April, according to the IMF.
AMINATA FANTA KOROMA, OPPOSITION PARTY MEMBER: Because the dollar inflation is very high. Everything is very high.
BUSARI (voice-over): Around 3.3 million, less than half the population, are registered to vote in this, the fifth election since the end of the
country's brutal, decade-long civil war 21 years ago. Hunger at the current state of the country spilling over in August last year, with more than 20
people killed in anti-government protests across Sierra Leone.
Incumbent President Julius Maada Bio's view of those protests.
MAADA BIO: This was not a protest against the high cost of living. The chant of the insurrectionists was for a violent overthrow of the
democratically-elected government. Former Sierra Leonean child soldier turned author and human rights activist Ishmael Beah says the mood in the
country is not hopeful.
ISHMAEL BEAH, AUTHOR AND HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Even as we lead towards election, the security situation has gotten tense in the way that you have
more presence of armed police, armed military, that are basically patrolling the streets as if going to an election is also going to war.
BUSARI (voice-over): Among the 12 candidates challenging Maada Bio in the general election is the leader of the opposition All People's Congress
Party, Samura Kamara.
KAMARA: I want to call all Sierra Leoneans to come out and vote on the 24th, come rain, come sunshine, come the usual barrage of bullets or come
anything else to protect their votes.
BUSARI: The 72-year-old former cabinet minister is facing trial on corruption charges, which he denies. If convicted, Kamara would be barred
from holding public office. He appeared before court in April, but the case has been adjourned until after the general election.
Fifty-nine-year-old Maada Bio seen here dancing in the rain on the campaign trail has promised, if re-elected, to feed the nation and create half a
million jobs for young people in five years. For the people of a country that has faced so much tragedy, its future is by no means decided.
Stephanie Busari, CNN, Lagos.
ASHER: And Sierra Leone's information and communications minister, Mohammed Rahman Suarez joins us live now from Freetown. Mrs. Suarez, thank
you so much for being with us. This election is of course in part about the economy. When you think about what ordinary Sierra Leoneans are dealing
with, I mean it's a lot. It is economically unbearable. We're talking about approximately 60 percent of young people basically unemployed, food prices
sky high, fuel prices also rising, as well, inflation hovering at around 37 percent.
Just explain to our audience why President Bio should be given another chance. Why should he be elected to a second term?
MOHAMED RAHMAN SWARAY, INFORMATION & COMMUNICATIONS MINISTER, SIERRA LEONE: Well, so, context matters here. President Bio inherited an economy that was
virtually on life support. You had rare GDP growth at 3.5 percent. Inflations were going around 18 percent. Major mines had shot down,
creating joblessness amongst young people and pushing in grand and horrendous poverty.
At the same time, we had a debt overhang of about -- domestic debt overhang of about $650 million external debt of about $1.75 million. So, we had a
lot of odds stuck against this president as at the time he took over. But he was very determined, true to his manifesto commitment to ensure an
effective and efficient management of the state and her resources.
He was able to introduce very stringent and well-thought through policies and mechanisms to rebound the economy. We introduced, for example, the
transit single accounts with blocked leakages and Sunday order interventions. So, as at 2019, the economy had rebounded to 5.6 percent.
Domestic revenue to GDP ratio had grown to 15.7 percent up from 12.3 percent in 2018 when it took over. Inflation was already down, the best in
their key for to 9.5 percent.
ASHER: Mohamed, I'm going to jump in because we have limited time. There is no denying that President Bio was dealt a bad hand. I mean, in addition
to some of the things that he inherited, it's also, for example, the pandemic also weighed heavily on him. You also want to talk about the war
in Ukraine. There are food shortages across Africa as a result of that war. There is no denying it.
I think what people are concerned about whether or not President Bio has the solution in terms of solving the economic crisis that Sierra Leoneans
are going through right now, especially when you consider that among the poorest people in your country, they're dealing with food prices
quadrupling, not tripling, quadrupling. People cannot afford to get by.
I want to talk about the level of division in Sierra Leone right now.
SWARA: That is true.
ASHER: The country is fractured. The country is fractured, okay? People are talking about pockets of violence especially around the APC's
headquarters, police apparently firing tear gas and rubber bullets. Obviously, Sierra Leone has a difficult past when it comes to civil war and
conflict, as well. And then accusations have been levelled at the president in terms of what happened back in August 2022 when we saw people protesting
about the high cost of living.
People thought the president was too heavy handed. Obviously, more than 20 people were killed during those protests by police. What is the solution
for President Bio, if he does win a second term, what is the solution in terms of healing the level of fracture and division in your country?
SWARAY: Okay, so first off, it should be noted that even at the peak of the twin shocks, COVID, and the Russian-Ukraine war, President Bio's
government put very ingenious policies and measures in place to alleviate the plight of our people. During that period, we did direct cash transfers
to the poorest of the poor. We did direct cash transfers to people living with disabilities. We made money available to the Central Bank, about $50
million from the Central Bank to commercial banks to afford importers an opportunity to bring in essential commodities.
That was part of the Quick Actual Economic Response Program. We launched the Munafa Fund. Munafa is a small-medium enterprise support that the
government launched to give microcredit and orders to our small media entrepreneurs at a single digit interest rate. So4, we did all of those
things. This was all during COVID. We are still funding very ambitious free quality education using 22 percent of our resources to do that. We are
investing in roads and some other things.
You speak about division. Government is very concerned. We have always noted, Sierra Leone is a very highly divided nation. But this division has
been sharpened by politicians without a message whose only weapon in their arsenal is appealing to ethno-regional sentiments. I mean, this is very
akin to the APC.
In 2007, on the eve of the announcement of results, Former President Krumah said in a BBC interview that he would make the country ungovernable if the
elections did not go his way. Fast forward 2018, Dr. Samura Kamara, who is President Bio's challenger, also chatted to me.
ASHER: But that wasn't my question. I'm not asking you to blame -- sorry, I'm not asking you to blame the opposition. I'm asking if President Bio
wins, if President Bio wins re-election, what is his goal in terms of healing the country? That was my question to you.
SWARAY: Okay, so already he started that job. Since the civil war ended in 2002, there was a recommendation in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
for governments to set-up a national commission for Peace and Reconciliation. Governments have come and gone. Nobody has done it.
President Bio has taken it from concept, from recommendation, to various processes.
Today, we have the Independent Commission for Peace and Reconciliation. When we convened the national conference, all world ministerial unions
attended, except the APC. They are not interested in that. Fast forward. Again, President Bio has had a record. Even Dr. Samura Kamara, with the
benefit of science side, was appointed for the first cabinet by President Bio in 1996.
So, this cannot be a division. President Bio believes in Sierra Leone. He does not see grains of sand. He sees the whole beach. He does not see
trees. He sees forests. He looks for the fire-burned Sierra Leoneans to walk with. It is in fact in that spirit that he's been able to forge
aggressive alliance with Dr. Kandeyo Mkela so that we can bring the best and brightest fight to solve a very violent disaster.
ASHER: Mohamed, we have to leave it there, Mohamed, we have to leave it there. We are out of time. Thank you so much for your time this afternoon,
we appreciate it. All right, still to come, we'll have, we'll take a closer look at what exactly happened to the Titan submersible, including what
happens when there is an implosion and whether the crew could have been aware of it. Stay tuned.
ASHER: Hello and welcome back to ONE WORLD. More now on our main story. A journey to see the Titanic shipwreck has of course ended in tragedy with
the death of all five passengers on a tourist submersible.
I want to take a closer look now at what we know about this disaster. U.S. Navy says that there was a catastrophic implosion. This refers to the
sudden inward collapse of the vessel, which would have been under immense pressure deep in the Atlantic. Although it's unclear exactly where the
Titan was lost -- where it was when it lost contact about an hour and 45 minutes into its descent, the Titanic wreck sits nearly 13,000 feet, almost
4000 meters below sea level.
Experts say there's around 5600 pounds per square inch of pressure at that depth. That's several hundred times the pressure on the surface. The
implosion was probably incredibly quick, says another expert, a former naval officer. It happened probably in just a matter of a fraction of a
millisecond, she says. The Director of the blockbuster film, "Titanic" is himself a deep-sea explorer with more than 30 trips to the Titanic
wreckage. James Cameron says he immediately suspected an implosion had occurred when he learned the sub was missing earlier this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES CAMERON, DIRECTOR, "TITANIC": I was out on a ship myself when the event happened on Sunday. The first I heard of it was Monday morning. I
immediately got on my network, because it's, you know, a very small community in the deep submergence group, and found out some information
within about a half hour that they had lost comms and they had lost tracking simultaneously.
The only scenario that I could come up with in my mind that could account for that was an implosion, a shockwave event so powerful that actually took
out a secondary system that has its own pressure vessel and its own battery power supply, which is the transponder that the ship uses to track where
the sub is. So, I was thinking implosion then, that's Monday morning.
Look, I'm not worried about exploration because explorers will go. And I'm not worried about innovation because people will innovate. I'm worried that
it has a negative impact on, let's say, citizen explorers, tourists, you know. But these are serious people with serious curiosity, willing to put
serious money down to go to these interesting places. And I don't want to discourage that.
But I think that it's almost now the lesson. And I think all of us in the community now, now that our worst fears have happened, and we know why it
happened, I think largely, you know, it puts us now on even more alert to be disciplined and to really think about the ethics of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: Time now for The Exchange. We want to take a closer look at what led to this tragedy. Joining me live now is Rick Armstrong, who retired
from the U.S. Navy after more than 30 years as a deep sea diver.
Rick, thank you so much for being with us. You just heard James Cameron basically saying that the entire community just needs to be much more
disciplined. My question to you is, should there be a pause? Should we sort of hold off and shelve these sorts of experimental, you know, deep sea
tourism trips. What are your thoughts on that?
RICK ARMSTRONG, RETIRED NAVY DIVER: Well, in the Navy, if you have an incident of this nature, you have what's called a stand down. All
operations are stopped. Lessons learned are reviewed and passed down to the fleet. A good example is in the 60s, the Navy lost two submarines, the
Thresher and the Scorpion. Eventually, after the investigation, they came out with the SubSafe Quality Assurance Program and today they've been very
successful incidents with submarines in years.
Point case, one of the submarines ran into a mountain and actually came back to port. That was due to SubSafe protocol and quality controls. And I
feel that, you know, this industry needs to take a pause and do a deep dive in their processes and regulatory boards. And hopefully, if they're gonna
do ocean tourism, the people that pay, you know, large amounts of money to do this can do it relatively safe. It's a very unforgiving environment, as
James Cameron alluded to.
ASHER: In terms of what we know and obviously we're still piecing together how exactly this happened, but we do know that this submersible, this
vessel was built to withstand certified pressure at around 1300 meters deep. But the wreckage of the Titanic is 4000 meters deep. What sort of
regulation? Just reading about it, it sort of appears to be, you know, the wild, wild west in terms of, you know, these experimental dives and the
experimental material that the submersible is made out of. But what regulation is needed here?
ARMSTRONG: Well, I think in the case of the Titan, this was a one standalone vessel. I think the industry is very safe. Well, I think in the
case of the Titan, this was a one standalone vessel. I think the industry is very safe. Hundreds of dives are done every year for oil exploration,
you know, oil rig inspections, lane cable and such.
But as a whole, I think the industry has its own regulatory board. But for offshoots that are now going to the tourism business, I think they need to
get involved and have a certification process that includes inspections, quality assurance, and proof of concept before they are allowed to go to
sea with the civilians.
ASHER: And in terms of what the submersible was actually made out of, a lot of people are talking about the material itself as being hugely
problematic here. The fact that it was made out of a composite carbon fiber and it had a titanium hole. Is that what you see as the issue here? I mean,
obviously, the investigation is still ongoing in terms of what happened. There's so much we don't know. But in terms of your expertise, does that
raise any red flags to you? What the material was here?
ARMSTRONG: The material that he used, I'm not familiar with as far as using this for deep diving. And the fact that 18 different commercial
industry leadership wrote him a letter to say that, hey, you may have a problem with this that could lead to a catastrophic event, unfortunately
proved true. You know, innovation is one thing, but experimenting with people that have paid to go on what they felt was a safe ride.
They need a way to ensure folks' safety if they're going to have a tourism industry like this. This is not -- this is not a very friendly environment.
You have got to, you know, there's physics and gas laws involved and you have to be very careful when you do this type of diving.
ASHER: So, what's the process right now in terms of piecing together when the implosion took place and most importantly, I think, why?
ARMSTRONG: Well, they could probably use the, I believe the sound system on Sunday that recorded an implosion as a baseline. And from there, once
they retrieve the wreck, they'll bring it to the surface and the expertise, the experts in this industry will take a look at it. They'll -- most likely
it was, you know, a defect in the hull. It could have been a bad weld.
It could have been the viewport that they used to observe the Titanic. There's many things. There's a lot of speculation. But until they actually
get the vessel on the surface and are able to take a look at it, you really can't say at this point.
ASHER: All right, Rick Armstrong, thank you so much. We appreciate it. All right, still to come here, why there is so much buzz around the French
teenager who just became the number one pick in the NBA draft. We'll have that story next.
ASHER: Pop Star Kesha and Dr. Luke have reached an agreement over a years- long legal dispute. The singer had filed a lawsuit in 2014 against the music producer seeking to get her out of her recording contract and
accusing him of sexual assault. Dr. Luke has long denied those claims and counter sued for defamation and breach of contract against Kesha the same
The San Antonio Spurs chose Victor Wembanyama as the number one pick in the NBA draft. The 19-year-old from France is the most hype NBA prospect in the
year. CNN's Omar Jimenez was at the event where fashion was also on full display, as well.
OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For starters, we've got to talk about the looks because I thought I came ready, you know, three-piece suit, that
whole deal. No, no, no. Everybody came here ready to make a statement. I want to start Brady Dick. You couldn't miss him. He went to Kansas wearing
an all-red sparkly blazer with the sparkly turtleneck. He told me that he was paying homage to Dorothy's red slippers in Kansas.
Also Scoot Henderson. I mean, come on, you weren't going to miss him. You could see him from a mile away drift out from head to toe and among the top
prospects in this draft to hell of a ball player. And then, of course, you have Victor Wembanyama. He is the generational talent that is here today,
being described as a generational talent, I should say, and a Star Wars fan. So, I asked him if he were to describe this next phase of life in the
form of a Star Wars title, what would it be? Take a listen.
JIMENEZ: You can't say Wemby strikes back.
VICTOR WEMBANYAMA, NUMBER ONE NBA DRAFT PICK: No, the force awakens, you know. Oh, yeah, yeah, the force awakens.
JIMENEZ: Why the force awakens? No, because it's, from my point of view, it's the beginning of a new life and I'm trying to be as special as I can
be, you know. Hopefully, someday, I make history.
JIMENEZ: An incredible talent but also an incredible mind. And the thing about the NBA draft, the draft really in any professional sport but
especially the NBA, is it is the beginning of a new chapter, of a new life for these players. It is, in many cases, they are dreams that are now
finally coming true as they walk across the stage and shake the commissioner's hands.
And then I ask all these players a very crucial question. Now, everybody's all smiles, now, they all say it's a brotherhood now, but they all told me
once they get in between those lines the competition is on and we're going to see once things actually begin. Omar Jimenez, CNN, Brooklyn, New York.
ASHER: Let's bring in CNN World Sports' Don Riddell joining us from Atlanta. So, we got the lowdown in terms of fashion, Don, but let's get all
the sporting details. Just walk us through what makes this number one pick from France so special, because this is a guy who, aside from being super
young, he has an international background, right? He is partly Congolese, partly French, but also he did not play basketball in an American high
school or college. This is historic.
DON RIDDELL, CNN WORLD SPORT: Yeah, it's massive. First of all, Zain, I'm feeling very underdressed having watched - walking the red carpet.
ASHER: Me, too, right?
RIDDELL: What's this? But yeah, look.
RIDDELL: This guy is so exciting for so many reasons. He's seven foot four. So, what's not exciting about seeing a dude of that height playing
basketball? He looks like Yao Ming, but he plays like a guard. He can do it all. As you say, he's so hyped, the most hyped player since LeBron James.
So, that gives you an idea of kind of the bracket that he's going into. And by the way, he was born just a couple of months after Lebron began his NBA
career, which also gives you some idea of the longevity of Lebron James.
He's going to the San Antonio Spurs team who have a great deal of history with international players, notably another Frenchman, Tony Parker. He won
four NBA titles with them. And the last time the San Antonio Spurs had the first draft pick, those guys went on to be superstars. So, the stars really
are aligning for an absolutely huge NBA career and I think for Victor Wembanyama, he's just coming to terms with that now. He's pretty emotional
when he spoke about it last night.
WEMBANYAMA: It's just accomplishing something that I've been dreaming of my whole life. Hearing that sentence from Adam Silver, you know, I've
dreamed of it so much. I gotta cry, man.
RIDDELL: That's so cool to see what it means to him and of course we all just can't wait to see him in action, Zain.
ASHER: An NBA season obviously doesn't start until October, so will we actually get a chance to see him in action, Don, before then?
RIDDELL: Yeah, hopefully. That's certainly the plan. October seems like a long way in the future. But yeah, the summer league will get underway, and
it looks as though we could be seeing him in just two weeks' time when the Spurs are playing Charlotte in Sacramento. I don't think we'll be seeing
him play full games, but as Coach Greg Popovich has said, we'll play him a bit. And it's interesting from Popovich's point of view how he's going to
integrate this new talent into his team. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP))
GREGG POPOVICH, SAN ANTONIO SPURS COACH: Because of all the hype, he'll have a target on his back. So, more than O's and X's to begin with, we'll
be most interested in setting a framework in an environment where he's comfortable, where he can be Victor. He's not LeBron or Tim or Kobe or
anybody else. He's Victor. And that's who we want him to be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RIDDELL: So, Wembanyama has made it very clear that he wants to win with the Spurs. He's not just here to make up the numbers. I don't think their
team is quite that good just yet, but that's an indication of where he's at. And whatever happens in his first season, this is going to be a huge
first year for him in professional basketball because he's going to end up next summer with the Olympics in Paris. He'll be representing France. So,
what an amazing year he's got coming up ahead of him.
ASHER: So excited for him. A great immigrant story, too. Super inspiring. Don Riddell, live for us there. Thank you so much. All right, coming up. A
life-long dream with an ample dose of determination ahead. We'll introduce you to the student who traveled from Pakistan to the Hajj in Mecca on foot.
ASHER: A toy craze is hard to replicate, but toy maker Hasbro is trying. Remember this guy? The Furby, the 1990s phenomenon is coming back better
than ever. The bug-eyed, gibberish-talking Furball will be back on store shelves. Next month, he's got some design changes, like, for example, being
somewhat cuter, some would say, and most importantly, he actually has an off button.
Hasbro says the new Furby is to celebrate his changes, for example, being somewhat cuter, some would say, and most importantly, he actually has an
Hasbro says the new Furby is to celebrate his 25th anniversary. And finally, one of the largest religious gatherings in the world begins in
Saudi Arabia on Monday. And among the devoted Muslim pilgrims attending this year's Hajj in Mecca is a Pakistani student who gives new meaning to
the words dedication and determination.
Ushman Arshad made the six-month journey from his hometown in Punjab, traveling more than 4000 kilometers on foot, by the way, on foot. He walked
the entire time before finally reaching the holy city. He faced a host of challenges along the way, but says ultimately it was worth the sacrifice.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
USHMAN ARSHAD, PAKISTANI PILGRIM WHO WALKED TO MECCA (through translator): In the beginning many people discouraged me, saying that I won't be able to
make it but I ignored all the negative feedback and carried my positive energy with me on my trip. My message to everyone is that if you want to do
anything, just believe in yourself and always think positively, and God will help you complete any journey you want to take on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASHER: I like that. Arshad had walked through Pakistan, Iran, the UAE and Saudi Arabia before finally reaching Mecca. Thank you so much for watching
ONE WORLD. I'm Zain Asher. "AMANPOUR" is up next. You are watching CNN.