The crew aboard the ill-fated Titan submersible reportedly endured some heartbreaking final moments before the vessel imploded.
The OceanGate-operated sub – which had been on a doomed voyage to visit the wreck of the Titanic – met a catastrophic end on June 18, with the incident resulting in the tragic loss of five lives.
As well as OceanGate’s CEO Stockton Rush, four other men perished on the trip – including British entrepreneur Hamish Harding, French diver Paul-Henri Nargeolet, Pakistani-British billionaire Shahzada Dawood, and his teenage son, Suleman.
In a recent interview with The New York Times Christine Dawood, wife and mother to the father-son duo, explained her family’s intense interest with the Titanic wreckage – and how this eventually culminated in Shahzada and Suleman heading on the exploration voyage.
The grieving widow and mother detailed how a family vacation to Singapore in 2012 to see the Titanic exhibition piqued Shahzada and Suleman’s interest, which was further cemented in 2019 after a visit to Greenland.
Eventually, the pair discovered that OceanGate was offering trips to view the wreckage, which sunk off the coast of Canada after hitting an iceberg in 1912. Christine recalled that she had initially been meant to head down into the depths of the ocean with her billionaire husband, but they were forced to postpone their trip due to the COVID pandemic.
After OceanGate started operating again, 19-year-old Suleman was old enough to accompany his father, and took his mother’s place.
In her Times interview, Christine recounted how her late husband and son had been close to missing their flight to St. John’s in Newfoundland, which is where the mother ship Polar Prince was to set sail.
“We were actually quite worried, like, ‘Oh, my god, what if they cancel that flight as well? In hindsight, obviously, I wish they did,” she recalled.
Both Shahzada and Suleman were excited in the days leading up to the trip, with Christine stating that her son “was like a vibrating toddler.”
The Times detailed the unique measures that were implemented by Rush ahead of the trip, which included sticking to a “low-residue diet” in the 24 hours before the voyage, given that there was only a tiny camping-style toilet on the small sub.
Rush also encouraged the four men to download their favourite music to listen to during the descent via a Bluetooth speaker, but had apparently banned country music, Sky News detailed.
Christine revealed that the lights would have been switched off as the men embarked on the trip, in order to save battery power – meaning their last moments on board the Titan would have been in complete darkness.
The Titan sub had drawn significant attention for its innovative carbon fiber and titanium construction, as well as its ability to dive to depths of 4000m. There were, however, increasing questions about the Titan’s design.
A CNN review indicated that OceanGate’s commitment to safety measures appeared to be at odds with its decisions, especially as it was operated using a Playstation controller.
The company had also bypassed industry standards, opting out of a voluntary, intense safety review of the submersible.
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