Today, a photograph capturing the final moments of British-Pakistani billionaire Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman before they boarded the ill-fated Titan submarine has surfaced. The image shows the father and son smiling arm in arm, unaware of the tragedy that awaited them on the $250,000 per person expedition, which claimed their lives along with three others.
In the heart-wrenching account shared by Shahzada Dawood’s devastated wife, Christine, she revealed how the pair spent their final hours aboard the Titan. To conserve power, they listened to their favorite music in total darkness while marveling at the bioluminescent creatures in the deep. Meanwhile, Christine and their daughter, Alina, aged 17, were aboard the submersible’s mothership, Polar Prince, bidding farewell to their loved ones on the Father’s Day weekend adventure in June.
Months earlier, OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush and his wife Wendy flew from the United States to meet the Dawood family in London, aiming to alleviate their concerns about the submersible’s safety and convince them it would be secure to visit the wreckage of the Titanic. Mr. Rush, who held the belief that diving to the depths of the Atlantic in the Titan was “safer than crossing the street,” personally met with the family at a cafe near Waterloo in February. They discussed the design and safety aspects of the submersible.
Speaking to the New York Times, Mrs. Dawood expressed her lack of knowledge about the engineering side, likening it to sitting in a plane without understanding how the engine functions. However, despite any reservations, just twelve weeks after their meeting, Shahzada Dawood, an heir to one of Pakistan’s prominent business dynasties, led his family on the ill-fated journey.
They flew to Toronto on June 14, and although their flight to St John’s for the expedition was initially canceled, they eventually had an extra day to explore the city. Unfortunately, their subsequent flight was further delayed, causing anxiety that they might not reach the Titan at all. Mrs. Dawood ruefully remarked, “We were actually quite worried, like, oh my god, what if they cancel that flight as well? In hindsight, obviously, I wish they did.”
The Titan commenced its descent to the Titanic wreckage at 8 a.m. on June 18. However, contact was lost at 9:45 a.m., just one hour and forty-five minutes into the dive. Subsequently, the US Navy recorded the sound of an implosion at that precise moment. Five days later, debris from the submersible was discovered on the sea bed, approximately 1,600 feet away from the Titanic.
Those on board, including OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush (61), French Titanic expert Paul Henry Nargeolet (77), British billionaire adventurer Hamish Harding (58), and Shahzada Dawood and Suleman, likely met an instant and tragic fate, completely unaware of the unfolding disaster.
Mrs. Dawood recalled their arrival on the mothership at St. John’s harbor in Newfoundland during the middle of the night on June 15. From there, they set sail for the dive site. Briefings were held at 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., featuring scientific talks and discussions about the wreckage and the expedition.
The passengers preparing for the descent were instructed to wear thick socks and a hat to combat the cold depths. They were also advised to follow a low-residue diet the day before the dive, refraining from consuming coffee on the morning of the descent. As there was no toilet on board, a bottle or camp-style toilet was provided behind a curtain.
Prior to their fateful descent, the passengers were instructed to curate their preferred music playlists on their phones, intended to be played through a Bluetooth speaker during the journey. However, Stockton Rush, the CEO, had a prohibition on country music. In anticipation of conserving battery power for the depths of the sea bed, Rush informed them that the descent would be in complete darkness, as the headlights would be turned off.
Despite the absence of light, the passengers were told to anticipate the awe-inspiring sight of bioluminescent creatures in the depths. Mrs. Dawood shared that her husband, Shahzada, was brimming with excitement in the lead-up to the trip, likening his enthusiasm to that of a vibrant and eager child.
The Dawood family’s fascination with the Titanic had its roots in their visit to an exhibition in Singapore commemorating the 100th anniversary of the ship’s sinking in 2012. Their interest further grew during a trip to Greenland in 2019, where they marveled at the glaciers that transformed into icebergs.
Mrs. Dawood stumbled upon an advertisement for OceanGate and initially planned to embark on the expedition with her husband. However, due to the pandemic-induced delays, their plans shifted, and by the time they were able to proceed, their son Suleman had reached the age to participate instead of her.
As a personal endeavor, the teenage Suleman carried a Rubik’s Cube with him, hoping to achieve a world record by solving it underwater.
** Taking lead from Mail Online