The desperate search for the missing submersible Titan has ended in tragedy, ITV News' Neil Connery reports
The US Navy have said they heard a sound "consistent with an implosion" when communications with the Titan submersible were lost on Sunday.
British-Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman died on the vessel alongside French submersible pilot Paul-Henri Nargeolet, chief executive of OceanGate Expeditions Stockton Rush, and British billionaire and pilot Hamish Harding.
A race against time ensued when the submersible, operated by OceanGate Expeditions, lost contact during a dive to the ship's wreck around one hour and 45 minutes into its descent.
The US Coast Guard expressed concern about the 96-hour oxygen supply the men had left, if the Titan was still in tact.
The families of those who were on board the trip paid tribute to their loved ones as ITV News' Charlie Frost reports
But on Thursday, search officials confirmed they had found debris matching parts of the Titan around 1,600ft from the bow of the Titanic, and that the discovery was "consistent with a catastrophic loss of the pressure chamber."
When the US Navy went back and analysed its acoustic data, the Navy found an anomaly that was "consistent with an implosion or explosion in the general vicinity of where the Titan submersible was operating when communications were lost," a senior Navy official told The Associated Press.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive acoustic detection system.
The Navy had initially passed on the information they found to the Coast Guard, which continued its search because the Navy did not consider the data to be definitive.
It comes as family and friends pay tribute to the five men who died.
Shahzada and Suleman Dawood
The father and son hailed from one of Pakistan’s most prominent families.
Shahzada Dawood, 48, was the vice-chairman of Pakistani conglomerate Engro Corporation, and a long-time adviser to the King’s charity, Prince’s Trust International, with a focus on its work in Pakistan.
He lived in Surbiton, south-west London, with his son, wife Christine and daughter Alina, according to the Telegraph.
The Dawood family released a statement on Thursday night, mourning the loss of the father and son.
“Please continue to keep the departed souls of our family in your prayers during this difficult period of mourning.
The family statement said they are truly grateful to those involved in the rescue operations and their “untiring efforts” brought strength to the family.
The statement said: “We are also indebted to our friends, family, colleagues and well-wishers from all over the world who have stood by us during our hour of need.
“We extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of the other passengers onboard the Titan submersible.”
A separate family statement reported by the BBC said Shahzada was interested in “exploring different natural habitats”, and had previously spoken at both the United Nations and Oxford Union.
Suleman was described as a “big fan of science fiction literature and learning new things”, with an interest in Rubik’s Cubes and playing volleyball.
Mr Dawood became a director of the Dawood Hercules Corporation in 1996, and served as vice chairman between 2018 to 2021, according to his LinkedIn profile. The company is an investment holding platform, of which Engro Corporation is a subsidiary.
Alongside his work in business, he was a supporter of the British Asian Trust, an organisation and a trustee of the Seti Institute.
Shahzada’s father, Hussain Dawood, was a founding patron of Prince’s Trust International, according to the charity.
The chief executive and founder of OceanGate Expeditions, Stockton Rush originally trained as a pilot, becoming the youngest jet transport-rated pilot in the world aged 19 in 1981, according to his profile on the OceanGate website.
He graduated from Princeton with a degree in aerospace engineering in 1984, the profile says.
Mr Rush was described as “highly professional” alongside pilot Paul-Henri Nargeolet by a businessman who Mr Rush led on a previous visit to the Titanic wreck.
OceanGate said in a statement that the men were “true explorers who shared a distinct spirit of adventure, and a deep passion of exploring and protecting the world’s oceans”.
“Our hearts are with these five souls and every member of their families during this tragic time.”
Mike Reiss, a writer and producer of The Simpsons, described him as a “magnetic man” who is “the last of the great American dreamers”, the New York Times reported.
Mr Reiss, who went on a Titanic dive in a different OceanGate submersible with Mr Rush, also compared him to business magnates Henry Ford and the Wright brothers.
In a 2017 interview with the alumni magazine for Princeton University, where he studied mechanical aerospace engineering, Mr Rush said: “I was interested in exploration. I thought it was space exploration. I thought it was Star Trek and 2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Wars … and then I realised, it’s all in the ocean.”
Having co-founded OceanGate in 2009, Mr Rush has led crewed expeditions to remote ocean locations including the Titanic.
He was also the founder and member of the board of trustees of the linked charity organisation OceanGate Foundation, which uses marine technology to develop understanding of marine science, history and archaeology.
Mr Rush's wife, Wendy, is the great-great-granddaughter of a couple who famously died in the 1912 Titanic disaster.
Isidor Straus was a politician and co-owner of the Macy's department store in the US, when he and his wife, Ida, died in the sinking.
A former commander who served in the French navy for 25 years, Mr Nargeolet, 77, was in the first human expedition to visit the ship in 1987, according to the Telegraph.
His family released a statement after his death, saying he will be remembered as “one of the greatest deep-sea explorers in modern history”.
“When you think of the Titanic and all we know about the ship today, you will think of Paul-Henri Nargeolet and his legendary work.
“But what we will remember him most for is his big heart, his incredible sense of humour and how much he loved his family.
“We will miss him today and every day for the rest of our lives.”
After his career in the French navy, where he was captain of the deep submergence group, he held a number of roles in deep diving and piloting submersibles, including acting as director of DESM, noted on his LinkedIn profile as a French deep-diving equipment company.
As director of the Underwater Research Programme with RMS Titanic Inc, which owns the rights to the Titanic wreck, he has led the retrieval of items from the ship across many expeditions.
Born in Chamonix, France, he spent his childhood in Africa with his parents, according to the Daily Mail.
Mr Nargeolet was married to American newsreader Michelle Marsh until her death in 2017 aged 63, according to the New York Times.
Last year, Mr Nargeolet published a book in France about his experiences with the Titanic titled Dans Les Profondeurs Du Titanic (In The Depths Of The Titanic).
The billionaire pilot and chair of Action Aviation, a sales and operations company which manages private jet sales, shared on his Instagram account that he had joined the OceanGate expedition as a “mission specialist”.
Mr Harding, 58, was based in the UAE where the Action Aviation HQ is located, and presents himself in personal social media biographies as a “world explorer”.
In a short statement, his family said: “He was one of a kind and we adored him.
“He was a passionate explorer – whatever the terrain – who lived his life for his family, his business and for the next adventure.
“What he achieved in his lifetime was truly remarkable and if we can take any small consolation from this tragedy, it’s that we lost him doing what he loved.”
Mr Harding was remembered by friend Richard Garriot de Cayeux, who is the president of the Explorers Club, which Mr Harding helped found.
In a statement, Mr Garriot de Cayeux said: “Hamish Harding is a dear friend to me personally and to The Explorers Club.
“He holds several world records and has continued to push dragons off maps both in person and through supporting expeditions and worthy causes.”
He was married to wife, Linda, had two sons, Rory and Giles, a stepdaughter, Lauren, and a stepson, Brian Szasz.
On the Action Aviation website profile, Mr Harding writes that the company is the “professional representative of choice” for large aircraft transactions between heads of state, VIPs, Fortune 100 companies and international corporations”.
Mr Harding holds several Guinness world records, including the fastest circumnavigation of the Earth via the North and South Poles by an aircraft, in 46 hours, 40 minutes and 22 seconds.
In March 2021, he was awarded the record for the longest time traversing the deepest part of the ocean on a single dive, alongside Victor Vescovo, at four hours and 15 minutes along the sea floor of Challenger Deep in the western Pacific Ocean.
He said he often took his son Giles with him on these trips, including another world-record beating journey to the South Pole when Giles, aged 12, became the youngest person to have visited.
Last year, he took part in the fifth human space flight by Jeff Bezos’s aerospace company Blue Origin, according to Sky News.
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