Hamish Harding, Shahzada Dawood, and son Suleman: Titanic sub’s passengers? On Sunday, a submersible disappeared during a dive to the Titanic’s wreck, and now rescuers are racing against the clock to find it.
About an hour and 45 minutes into its dive in the middle of the Atlantic, the little sub lost contact with the surface. From their base in Boston, Massachusetts, rescuers are conducting a large search for the boat and its five occupants.
Read on to find out all we know about them.
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The 58-year-old British explorer owns and operates Action Aviation, a private jet dealership in Dubai.
He has been to the South Pole several times, including going there with Buzz Aldrin, and he took Blue Origin’s sixth human-crewed mission in 2022.
He has three records in the Guinness Book of World Records, including the record for the longest time spent underwater at the Mariana Trench’s lowest point.
According to an interview he gave to Business Aviation Magazine in the summer of 2022, he spent his childhood in Hong Kong, earned his pilot’s license in the mid-1980s while attending Cambridge, and founded his aircraft company after getting rich developing software for financial institutions.
He added that the original plan was to dive the Titanic in June of 2022, but that “the submersible was unfortunately damaged on its previous dive,” which caused the delay. According to him, everyone involved was unharmed.
In response to a question concerning his willingness to undertake exploratory missions, he responded, “My view is that these are all calculated risks and are well understood before we start.”
Due to bad weather in Newfoundland, Canada, where the missions originate, he predicted last weekend that this would be “the first and only in 2023” on Facebook.
In a later, now-deleted Facebook post, his stepson Brian Szasz claimed that his stepfather “has gone missing on (the) submarine.”
Mr. Harding was a “very charming guy” who was drawn to “extreme adventures,” according to his friend and marine scientist/expedition leader David Mearns.
British tour operator White Desert Antarctica founder Patrick Woodhead paid tribute to Mr. Harding as a “incredible” aviation adventurer, sending his condolences to Mrs. Harding and their sons.
An ex-NASA astronaut named Terry Virts described his pal as the “quintessential British explorer,” someone who enjoyed exploration and adventure but wasn’t a “adrenaline junkie.”
“Some people watch Netflix, some people play golf, and Hamish goes to the bottom of the ocean, or into space, and he’s set world records flying around the planet,” he said on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
Mr. Harding, along with fellow passenger Paul-Henry Nargeolet, is a member of the Explorers Club, an obscure organisation founded a century ago whose members have included such notable explorers as Sir Edmund Hillary and Amelia Earhart.
Richard Garriott de Cayeux, the company’s president, said that at a discussion at last week’s Global Exploration Summit, Mr. Harding’s enthusiasm for the mission was obvious.
Suleman Dawood and Shahzada
Shahzada Dawood, 48, is a British businessman who comes from a wealthy family in Pakistan. He was taking the submarine with his son, Suleman, a student of 19 years of age.
He and his family, Christine and their daughter Alina, live in Surbiton, south-west London, but they were in Canada for a month just before the dive.
Engro Corporation is a major fertiliser company in Pakistan, and Shahzada serves as vice-chairman of the company’s conglomerate.
He is involved with the SETI Institute in California, which conducts study into the possibility of extraterrestrial life, as well as his own family’s Dawood Foundation.
In addition to the Prince’s Trust and the British Asian Trust, two of King Charles’s charitable organisations, Shahzada donates to both.
Those on board have the “thoughts and prayers of the King,” according to a representative for the Palace. The King has asked to be kept fully apprised of the rescue operation.
Family members claimed in a statement that Shahzada enjoyed “exploring different natural habitats” and had spoken before the United Nations and the Oxford Union.
He attended the University of Buckingham in England and the University of Pennsylvania in the United States, from where he graduated in 1998.
A family statement said that Suleman, then a teenager, was a “big fan of science fiction literature and learning new things” who also enjoyed solving Rubik’s cubes and playing volleyball.
The local press in Surrey claims that he recently graduated from ACS International School Cobham.
Former French Navy diver and 77-year-old Mr. Nargeolet was also on board.
He is known as Mr. Titanic since he was on the first mission to visit the wreck in 1987, only two years after it was discovered.
The Titanic wreck is owned by a business where the 77-year-old man serves as director of underwater research.
Thousands of items from the Titanic have been recovered under Mr. Nargeolet’s watchful eye, including the “big piece,” a 20-ton portion of the boat’s hull, as stated in the company’s profile.
Even though the success of the mission was not dependent on Mr. Nargeolet, his family’s spokesman Mathieu Johann said he hoped his military experience and calm demeanour would reassure the personnel on board.
Mr. Nargeolet was looking forwards to an excursion next year to salvage things from the wreck, he said just before boarding the sub.
The business that operates the Titanic cruises, OceanGate, has confirmed that their CEO, Stockton Rush, age 61, is on board. He is a seasoned engineer who has worked on small submersible vessels and designed experimental airplanes in the past.
In 2021, the company made international headlines when it began selling visits to the site of the Titanic wreck, eight years after it was founded by Mr. Rush. Passengers can take a tour of the wreckage of the once-famous ship through his company for $250,000 (£195,600).
Participants take a larger ship for the 370-mile (595-kilometer) journey to the area above the crash site, where they spend eight hours diving to the Titanic in a submersible the size of a truck.
When asked about the pricing structure in 2022, he told the New York Times that it was “very expensive for us to get these ships and go out there,” therefore the price was “a fraction of the cost of going to space.”
According to a 2017 article published on the Princeton University website, Mr. Rush participates in each and every OceanGate dive.