'United in grief': Families of Titanic sub tourists pay tribute after group dies in 'catastrophic implosion' near wreck

23 June 2023, 00:59 | Updated: 23 June 2023, 01:17

Tributes have been paid to the passengers on the Titanic sub
Tributes have been paid to the passengers on the Titanic sub. Picture: Social media/Handout/Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

The devastated families of billionaire Hamish Harding, British national Shahzada Dawood and his 19-year-old son Suleman, have paid tribute to their loved ones after they died in a 'catastrophic implosion'.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Mr Harding's family described him as a "passionate explorer" who lived life "for the next adventure" while the Dawood family thanked those involved in the rescue operations.

The US Coast Guard confirmed on Thursday that all five passengers aboard the submersible Titan had died following a "catastrophic implosion".

The group consisted of Mr Harding, British nationals Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman - Stockton Rush, CEO of OceanGate Expeditions and 73-year-old French explorer Paul-Henry Nargeolet.

The US Navy is understood to have detected “an acoustic anomaly consistent with an implosion” shortly after the Titan lost contact with the surface on Sunday.

They informed rescuers who were able to narrow down the radius of their search before uncovering a 'debris field' 500 metres (1,600ft) from the bow of the Titanic.

Read more: All five passengers on missing Titanic submarine are ‘sadly lost’ says firm behind trip - as tributes paid to explorers

Read more: ‘It took far too long’: Family of Hamish Harding hit out at missing Titanic sub owner for not raising alarm fast enough

Hamish Harding was among the passengers
Hamish Harding was among the passengers. Picture: Alamy

In a statement released by Mr Harding's company Action Aviation, the family said they were "united in grief with the other families who have also lost their loved ones".

"Hamish Harding was a loving husband to his wife and a dedicated father to his two sons, whom he loved deeply," they said.

"To his team in Action Aviation, he was a guide, an inspiration, a support, and a living legend.

"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.

"He will leave a gap in our lives that can never be filled. We know that Hamish would have been immensely proud to see how nations, experts, industry colleagues and friends came together for the search and we extend our heartfelt thanks for all their efforts.

"On behalf of the Harding family and Action Aviation, we would like to politely request privacy at this incredibly difficult time."

Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman were on the submarine
Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman were on the submarine. Picture: Handout
Paul-Henry Nargeolet
Paul-Henry Nargeolet. Picture: Video screengrab/Social media

The Dawood family also released a statement saying: “It is with profound grief that we announce the passing of Shahzada and Suleman Dawood".

They went on to say: "Please continue to keep the departed souls and our family in your prayers during this difficult period of mourning.

"We are truly grateful to all those involved in the rescue operations. Their untiring efforts were a source of strength for us during this time.

"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.

"The immense love and support we receive continues to help us to endure this unimagineable loss.

"We extend our heartfelt condolenseces to the families of the other passengers on the Titan submersible."

Stockton Rush
Stockton Rush. Picture: Handout

Explorers Club president Richard Garriott de Cayeux has also paid tribute to the five people lost on board the Titan submersible.

In a statement on Twitter, he said: "Our hearts are broken. I am so sorry to have to share this tragic news.

"Our friends and fellow Explorers club members Hamish Harding and Paul-Henri Nargeolet are lost, along with Stockton Rush, Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman, while trying to reach the RMS Titanic."

Submersible lost on dive to Titanic suffered 'catastrophic implosion' – US Coast Guard

He added: "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.

"Paul-Henri was elected to the Club in 2001 and was one of the foremost experts on submersible expeditions to the Titanic. They were both drawn to explore, like so many of us, and did so in the name of meaningful science for the betterment of mankind.

"They pushed themselves in their entrepreneurial pursuits as they did in exploration."

The US coast guard gave an update on Thursday evening
The US coast guard gave an update on Thursday evening. Picture: Video screengrab

Undersea expert Paul Hankin said five major pieces of debris helped to identify it as from the Titan submersible - including the vessel's nose cone and the front end bell of the pressure hull.

According to court documents, safety concerns had previously been raised about the Titan submersible by a former employee of Oceangate.

The filings said David Lochridge, Oceangate's former director of marine operations, claimed wrongful dismissal after flagging worries about the company's alleged "refusal to conduct critical, non-destructive testing of the experimental design".

Court papers suggest Mr Lochridge "identified numerous issues that posed serious safety concerns" but he was allegedly "met with hostility and denial of access" to necessary documents before later being fired.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly described the update as "tragic news" and said the UK Government is closely supporting the British families affected.

The White House said the families of those who died had "been through a harrowing ordeal over the past few days, and we are keeping them in our thoughts and prayers."

Pakistan's foreign ministry paid tribute to the Dawood family, tweeting: "Our deepest condolences to the Dawood family and the family of other passengers on the sad news about the fate of Titanic (sic) submersible in the North Atlantic.

"We appreciate the multinational efforts over the last several days in search of the vessel."

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

President Trump was shot at a rally in Pennsylvania

One killed and shooter dead after gunman fires at Donald Trump during rally leaving former president bloodied

American XL bully

Police raid suspected XL Bully farm and arrest man as 13 dogs seized inside house with children

Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer has told the England team that they have "made the country proud" before their crunch Euros final against Spain on Sunday.

'Bring it home': Keir Starmer sends message to England team ahead of showpiece Euros final against Spain

spanhoe airfield near corby main runway

Pilot killed in plane crash at former RAF airfield near Corby as police urge witnesses to come forward

A child is dead and five people have been injured after a house fire in East Ham, London.

Child dead after deadly blaze that injured five which gutted east London home and needed 40 firefighters to tackle

Daniel Halliday went missing while playing in the water with his brother on June 30.

Body found in the sea confirmed to be 14-year-old Daniel Halliday who was swept away in River Mersey on June 30

A Scottish council has come under fire for handing almost 2,000 penalties in the first 11 days of its low emission zone

Scottish council under fire after handing out 2,000 fines in first 11 days of new low emission zone

Graziano Di Prima has broken his silence

Strictly Come Dancing pro Graziano Di Prima breaks silence after being 'sacked' following misconduct claims

Strictly Come Dancing professional dancer Graziano Di Prima has been sacked by the BBC

Strictly Come Dancing pro 'sacked' after claims of gross misconduct towards former partner Zara McDermott

Prince William will be at the game on Sunday

‘Just one last push’: Prince William’s message to the England team ahead of Euro 2024 final against Spain

The family of the three women who were killed in a crossbow attack have said they are "devastated"

‘We are devastated’, John Hunt and surviving daughter say, after his wife and two daughters killed in crossbow attack

At least 71 Palestinians have been killed in an Israeli air strike

‘Dozens killed in air strike on Gaza humanitarian zone’ as Israel says it was targeting Hamas leaders

The Princess of Wales is set to attend the Wimbledon Men's final

Princess of Wales to attend Wimbledon men's singles final in second public appearance since cancer diagnosis

Comedian John Bishop has divided fans after announcing he will be changing the time of his gig on Sunday

Wireless Festival and Comedian John Bishop spark controversy after changing set times for England's Euro 2024 final

Joe Biden has insisted he is staying in the race

Democrat donors ‘withhold $90m unless Biden stands down’ as Obama and Pelosi ‘oppose President’s re-election bid’

Two suitcases with human remains inside were found in Bristol

Armed police arrest man, 34, at train station following discovery of human remains in Bristol and west London