RIP the Titanic Explorers: Report Claims Suleman Didn’t Want to Go

By A Correspondent
Shahzada Dawood with his son Suleman Dawood.(Photo courtesy @NoLieWithBTC)
The tragic news saddened everyone who may or may not have known the five passengers on the ill-fated Titan submersible that went down the cold and dark waters of the northern Atlantic on Father’s Day, Sunday June 18, and never surfaced.

On Thursday, June 22, the US Coast Guards confirmed the wreckage a ROV (Remote Operated Vehicle) had found on ocean floor, about 600 meters away from the Titanic wreckage, was that of the Titan. The news of the missing submersible remained in international headlines for four days.

“The debris is consistent with the catastrophic loss of the pressure chamber,” Rear Adm. John Mauger, the head of the search-and-rescue operation, was quoted by Politico as saying at a news conference in Boston. “On behalf of the United States Coast Guard and the entire unified command, I offer my deepest condolences to the families.”

The passengers aboard the Titan submersible “have sadly been lost,” OceanGate, the company that operates the vessel said in a statement Thursday afternoon (June 22). The passengers included OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman Dawood, Hamish Harding, and Paul-Henri Nargeolet.

Shahzada Dawod, 48, and his son Suleman, 19, were British citizens of Pakistan origin. Shahzada was the vice chairman of Engro Corporation, one of Pakistan’s largest industrial conglomerates. A spokesman of the Engro told The New York Times that Some members of the Dawood family had arrived in Canada, the staging site for the search.

Shahzada Dawood and his wife, Christine, who lives in Britain, also have a daughter, Alina and are believed to be among the members who arrived in Canada.

The Times ran a special report on the father and son on June 21, hours before their death was confirmed. It interviewed late Shahzada’s friends and colleagues who described him as “an explorer”.

“Don’t adventures ever have an end?” NYT quoted a Facebook post that Dawood wrote last year from a trip in Iceland, quoting Bilbo Baggins from “The Fellowship of the Ring.” “I suppose not. Someone else always has to carry on the story.”

Hours later, the Dawood family formally announced the passing of the father and son. “It is with profound grief that we announce the passing of Shahzada and Suleman Dawood. Our sons were aboard OceanGate’s Titan submersible that perished underwater. Please keep the departed souls and our family in your prayers during this difficult period of mourning,” said Hussain and Kulsum Dawood family in a brief statement issued on Twitter.

He didn’t want to go

ABC News reported a claim by one of late Suleman’s aunts that he was hesitant to go on the risky trip. Azmeh Dawood — the older sister of late Shahzada — told NBC News that her nephew, Suleman, informed a relative that he “wasn’t very up for it” and felt “terrified” about the trip. “But the 19-year-old ended up going aboard OceanGate’s 22-foot submersible because the trip fell over Father’s Day weekend and he was eager to please his dad, who was passionate about the lore of the Titanic,” NBC quoted Azmeh as saying.

“I am thinking of Suleman, who is 19, in there, just perhaps gasping for breath … It’s been crippling, to be honest,” Azmeh said in a phone interview from the home in Amsterdam she shares with her husband, Jonathan. “He was my baby brother,” she said of Shahzada, weeping. “I held him up when he was born.”

Pakistan Week offers its deepest condolences to the families of the ill-fated submersible passengers, especially the Dawood family. It also extends condolences to the families of those Pakistanis who lost their lives in a migrant boat tragedy near Greece.

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