The missing Titanic tourist submarine was not approved by any regulatory body – meaning all passengers had to sign a waiver before the $250,000 (£195,000) trip.
A search was launched for the OceanGate Explorations vessel 'Titan' after it went missing on Sunday morning (June 18). The expedition is believed to have launched from Newfoundland, Canada, on Saturday (June 17).
CBS Sunday Morning reporter David Pogue, who encountered problems himself on a previous OceanGate trip, claimed that the submarine appeared to be "improvised from off-the-shelf parts".
READ MORE: Three Brits residents on missing sub trip to cursed Titanic – including father and son
Describing it as "no bigger than a van", he said it is piloted by a video game controller, its lighting was purchased from a camping shop, and it uses construction pipes as ballast.
He also recalled signing a waiver before taking part in the trip that read: "This experimental vessel has not been approved or certified by any regulatory body, and could result in physical injury, emotional trauma, or death."
OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush said at the time that the sub was designed with help from NASA, Boeing and boffins from the University of Washington.
Rush is believed to be one of the five passengers currently missing. The others are British billionaire explorer Hamish Harding, Prince's Trust board member Shahzada Dawood, his son Sulaiman Dawood, and French explorer Paul-Henri Nargeolet.
The US coast guard said on Monday (June 19) the vessel had 96 hours of air left.
The submarine was taking the passengers 12,500ft underwater to the wreck on the Titanic. It lost communication with the mothership during the two-hour descent.
The wreck is 370miles from Newfoundland and lies in US waters.
Pogue said he was part of the OceanGate Explorations voyage last summer that lost communication with its mothership for a period of two-and-a-half hours.
He explained: "There's no GPS underwater, so the surface ship is supposed to guide the ship to the shipwreck by sending text messages. But on this dive, communication somehow broke down. The sub never found the wreck.
"We were lost for two-and-a-half hours."
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