A British billionaire explorer is among the five people on board the missing Titanic tourist submarine, somewhere in the depths of the Atlantic Ocean.
A search and rescue operation is underway for the submersible vessel, the Titan, after it submerged on Sunday (18 June) morning, and lost contact with its support ship, the Canadian research vessel Polar Prince, about an hour and 45 minutes into the submerge.
Follow live coverage of the missing Titanic sub in our live blog here
British billionaire explorer Hamish Harding, renowned French diver Paul-Henri Nargeolet, founder of OceanGate Expeditions Stockton Rush, Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman Dawood are all on board.
In a press conference on Wednesday (21 June) afternoon, Captain Jamie Frederick of the US Coast Guard assured people that authorities are doing everything possible to locate the missing vessel as the search intensified with more technology.
But with the passengers expected to run out of oxygen around 5.30am ET on Thursday, American and Canadian search crews and a French fleet on the way are racing against time for a miracle rescue.
Below we look at what we know about the five stranded on the sub.
Hamish Harding, 58, is chairman of private plane firm Action Aviation. The company confirmed Mr Harding is one of the mission specialists on the five-person OceanGate Expeditions vessel.
Mr Harding, who has previously travelled to the bottom of the ocean on the Challenger Deep and into space on Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, took to Facebook on Saturday (17 June) to announce that he was joining OceanGate Expeditions for its Titanic mission this week.
On Monday (19 June) – as news of the missing submersible broke – Mr Harding’s stepson Brian Szasz confirmed that his stepfather was on board the vessel when it went missing.
“Hamish Harding, my step father, has gone missing on submarine. Thoughts and prayers,” he wrote on Facebook, sharing family photos and articles.
The father-of-two is a seasoned explorer and holds three Guinness World Records, including the longest duration at full ocean depth by a crewed vessel. Mr Harding dived to the lowest depth of the Mariana Trench in March 2021.
Also on the submarine is French diver Paul-Henri Nargeolet, 77, Titanic expert Larry Daley told CBC News.
Mr Nargeolet spent 25 years in the French navy and worked with Mr Daley on his first Titanic dive 20 years ago.
OceanGate described Mr Nargeolet as the “Titanic’s greatest explorer.” He has led several expeditions to the Titanic and completed 35 dives in the submersible. He is the director of underwater research for RMS Titanic, Inc – which leads expeditions to the wreck that recovers artifacts.
The former naval officer was born in Chamonix, France but spent his early years in Africa with his parents. He was married to American newsreader Michelle Marsh until she died in 2017.
Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman
Shahzada Dawood, 48, and his son Suleman Dawood, 19, have been named as two of the other people on the submersible in a statement from the Dawood Family.
“As of now, contact has been lost with their submersible craft and there is limited information available,” the Dawood Family said in a statement obtained by CNN.
“We are very grateful for the concern being shown by our colleagues and friends and would like to request everyone to pray for their safety while granting the family privacy at this time. The family is well looked after and are praying to Allah for the safe return of their family members,” the statement continued.
The pair are understood to live in the UK.
Mr Dawood, who is a business advisor and also serves on the board for Prince’s Trust International, lives in a Surrey mansion with his wife Christine, son Suleman and daughter Alina, according to The Daily Mail.
Mr Dawood’s sister, Sabrina Dawood, told Sky News that the Dawood family is solely focused on the rescue of her brother and nephew and hope for their safe return.
“We are deeply grateful for the efforts of news agencies during this difficult time; your constant coverage of the missing Titan submersible is undoubtedly playing a large role in the world’s ability to access relevant updates on the matter,” she told the British news channel.
“At this time, the Dawood family’s sole focus is the rescue of our beloved Shahzada and Suleman Dawood and we are unable to address any questions or comments at the moment.
“We trust that the family will be granted privacy as we deal with this crisis. May Shahzada and Suleman return to us safe and sound.
“We are sure they would be as moved as we are by the support of the global community during this period of difficulty.”
Stockton Rush, 61, the CEO of OceanGate Expeditions, is among those onboard – the company confirmed on Tuesday afternoon.
His company, which provides crewed submersible services for researchers and explorers to travel deep into the ocean, operates the submersible that has gone missing, the Titan.
Mr Rush first began his career as a pilot at the age of 19 after qualifying from the United Airlines Jet Training Institute. At the time, he became the youngest jet transport-rated pilot in the world.
According to Mr Rush’s biography on his company’s website, he graduated from Princeton University with a BSE in aerospace, aeronautical and astronautical engineering in 1984. He served as a DC-8 first officer on flights to Europe and the Middle East during his summer between college.
After graduating, Mr Rush joined the McDonnell Douglas Corporation as a flight test engineer. He spent two years at Edwards Air Force Base.
He received his MBA from UC Berkeley Haas School of Business in 1989 and in the years after served on the Museum of Flight’s Board of Trustees, the board of enterprise software company Entomo and as chairman of Remote Control Technology.
In 2012, Mr Rush also founded the non-profit OceanGate Foundation while sitting on the board of BlueView Technologies, a manufacturer of high-frequency sonar systems.
Others who have been found safe
Meanwhile, other explorers who were part of the Titanic expedition have confirmed that they are safe.
Deep sea explorer Rory Golden posted on Facebook that he was safe and thanked people for their well-wishes as he said he is now focused on helping “our friends”.
Explorer Renata Rojas also posted about being part of the expedition ahead of Monday’s incident, with a friend commenting that she has spoken to her and she is safe.
OceanGate Expeditions, which offers eight-day tourist missions to see the Titanic wreckage at a cost of $250,000 per person, confirmed on Monday that its submarine was lost at sea with crew members on board.
The company said in a statement to CBS News that it is “exploring and mobilising all options to bring the crew back safely.”
“Our entire focus is on the crewmembers in the submersible and their families,” it said, adding that it is “deeply thankful for the extensive assistance we have received from several government agencies and deep sea companies in our efforts to reestablish contact with the submersible”.
The submersible operates by being launched from a mother ship which then later recovers it at the end of its mission.
A search and rescue operation led by the Boston Coast Guard is currently underway in the Atlantic Ocean.
The company last posted on Twitter on 15 June, detailing its latest Titanic expeditions.
“It’s been an incredibly busy two weeks! Thank you to all of our dive teams who’ve joined us – here’s a look at our Mission 3 and Mission 4 crew,” the company said.
The Titanic, operated by the White Star Line, sank on its maiden voyage across the Atlantic Ocean back in 1912.
The ship – the largest vessel at the time – set sail from Southampton, UK, on 10 April 1912, with more than 2,200 passengers and crew on board headed for New York City.
Five days into its voyage, the Titanic struck an iceberg and sank to the bottom of the ocean. More than 1,500 people died.
In recent years, people have taken trips to visit the wreckage which now lies around 12,500 feet at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, approximately 370 miles off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada.
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