Former Seattle TV anchor mourns friend aboard Titanic sub

Jun 24, 2023, 3:37 PM

Titanic sub...

Paul-Henri Nargeolet (Left) is being remembered not only by the scientific community, but also by former Seattle TV anchor Penny LeGate (Right) who called him her good friend. (Courtesy of Penny LeGate)

(Courtesy of Penny LeGate)

One of the passengers aboard the ill-fated OceanGate Submersible was a renowned Titanic expert, who had completed dozens of expeditions to the depths of the North Atlantic to visit the ocean liner’s final resting place.

Former French Naval officer Paul-Henri Nargeolet is being remembered not only by the scientific community, but also by a former Seattle TV anchor who called him her good friend.

Expert: Deaths of Titanic submersible occupants probably ‘instantaneous’

Penny LeGate says Nargeolet told everyone to “call him PH.”

LeGate first met ‘PH’ in 2010 in Newfoundland, where she was field producing and directing a documentary about the journey to the wreckage of the Titanic.

“My job was to direct the camera crew, to get shots, to do interviews, and to just do atmospheric things that they could weave into this documentary,” said LeGate.

LeGate says she felt an instantaneous connection with PH, and everyone on the crew loved spending time with him.

“He was just the kind of a guy who was a prankster, he liked to have fun, he was extremely capable, knowledgeable and he and I just stayed in touch over the years,” said LeGate. “His wife died about 2017, I think it was. I was talking with him, consoling him, and we just stayed friends through all the years, even though we never got to see each other again.”

LeGate says PH probably knew the Titanic better than anyone on the planet, having traveled to the ship more than 40 times. And she speculates that’s why he was on that final voyage of the Titan.

“He was probably on this mission for two reasons,” she said. “One, he couldn’t ever resist going back to this place he loved. And number two, I think he was the color-commentator for all the passengers.”

In addition to knowing the Titanic, LeGate believes PH also knew what was at stake.

“I don’t think he was foolhardy at all. I think that he was one of these people that lived on the edge, as an explorer. And I think inherent risk is just, part of the job.”

Missing Titanic sub from Everett company ‘just an awful situation’

When Titan first lost contact with the surface and the world learned of the peril it was in, LeGate says she was certain if anyone could bring the vessel to safety, it would be PH.

Unfortunately, the mission ended before it really began.

“I wish I had been able to spend more time with him,” LeGate lamented. “I feel so bad for his family. I just keep thinking, PH, your favorite place in the world was being on the Titanic. And, now, you will always be a part of it, forever.”

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Former Seattle TV anchor mourns friend aboard Titanic sub