A Las Vegas businessman says he was pressured for months into booking a trip on the doomed Titanic tourist submersible, with OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush claiming the ride was safer than scuba diving.
Financier Jay Bloom shared text messages between himself and Rush where Rush dismissed concerns from Bloom and his son Sean about taking the trip on the Titan submersible.
"While there's obviously a risk it's way safer than flying in a helicopter or even scuba diving," Rush texted.
One text revealed Rush offered Bloom and his son a "last minute" discounted price of $150,000 for each of them.
"Filling up this year and next. Want to reserve a spot(s)?" another text said.
Bloom and his son turned down the offer due to safety concerns.
Rush even flew to Las Vegas on a homebuilt, two-seater plane to try and convince them, Bloom said.
"He flew to Vegas on an experimental home-built plane to pitch me on going on an experimental home-built sub," Bloom told ABC News.
The vessel suffered a "catastrophic implosion" based on debris located 1,600 feet from the wreckage of the Titanic, the Coast Guard said Thursday. Rush and the other four passengers aboard the experimental deep-sea vessel "have sadly been lost," according to the submersible company.
The tragedy is raising questions about OceanGate's sub design and operations.
"He drank his own Kool-Aid and he sort of had this predisposition that it was safe, and anybody who disagreed with him, he felt it was just a differing opinion," Bloom said. "He just kind of was going to go with what he believed."
ABC News contributed to this report.