Who is Hamish Harding? The British billionaire and Guinness World Record holder missing on Titanic sub

21 June 2023, 13:24

Hamish Harding standing on a red carpet wearing a suit and medal alongside pictures of the Titanic wreckage
Hamish Harding is among five missing on the Titan sub searching for the Titanic wreckage. Picture: Alamy/Getty

By Jenny Medlicott

A British business man, Hamish Harding, is billionaire and adventurer, who is one of five passengers on board the missing OceanGate expedition to the wreck of the Titanic.

A huge search and rescue mission is on to search for the missing submarine, Titan, that went missing with five passengers on board in search for the Titanic wreckage.

One of those on board is Hamish Harding, a 58-year-old who is known for his incredible billion-pound net worth and his ambitious exploration ventures which has seen him be awarded Guinness World Records.

On-board with four others, including the CEO of OceanWave, the owner of the submarine, the rescue mission is currently at a crucial point as the Titan is believed to have just 24 hours left of oxygen on board.

Read more: 24 hours to save Titanic tourists: Rescuers hear banging sounds as they scramble to find missing submarine

Read more: Titanic sub's last chance: Vital rescue equipment flown in on US cargo planes ahead of 15-hour race across Atlantic

However, latest news suggest a glimmer of hope in the search after sonar equipment picked up a banging noise.

As the search rescue continues, here's a close look at Hamish Harding who is on board.

Hamish Harding wearing overalls with a titanic badge on as he looks out to sea
Hamish Harding is a businessman, adventurer and billionaire. Picture: Alamy

Who is Hamish Harding and what's he known for?

The 58-year-old attended Cambridge University and achieved a degree in natural sciences and chemical engineering.

Mr Harding is known for his bold ventures and holds three Guinness World Records. One for travelling to the deepest part of the ocean for the longest time on a single dive – diving for a total of four hours and 15 minutes.

He also holds another for the fastest circumnavigation of the earth across the north and south poles, achieving the fear in 46 hours, 40 minutes and 22 seconds in July 2019 and a third for the longest distance traversed at full ocean depth by a crewed vessel.

He also took part in Blue Origin’s fifth human spaceflight, organised by Jeff Bezos.

In 2016, he accompanied Buzz Aldrin to the south pole when the former astronaut became the oldest person to reach the south pole at age 86.

What is Hamish Harding's company?

Outside of world records Mr Harding is the founder and chairman of Action Aviation. Set up in 2004, Action Aviation is an international sales company in business aviation and the company offers aircraft brokerage, management and financing.

He was also a previous recipient of the award “living legend of aviation” at the European Living Legends of Aviation Awards, which was presented to recognise his contributions to aviation and aerospace.

The 58-year-old also used to be an International Space Station commander.

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Is Hamish Harding married and does he have children?

Mr Harding is based in the United Arab of Emirates, married to his wife Linda, and has two sons, named Rorry and Giles, a step-daughter named Lauren and a step-son named Brian.

What did Hamish Harding say about his Titanic venture?

Ahead of setting off on the Titanic expedition, the billionaire shared the news he would be attending as a “mission specialist” on social media.

Excitedly he shared the vessel set off on the Friday and the team was planning to to start the dive at approximately 4am on Sunday morning.

Posting to Instagram, he said: “I am proud to finally announce that I joined @oceangateexped for their RMS TITANIC Mission as a mission specialist on the sub going down to the Titanic.

“Due to the worst winter in Newfoundland in 40 years, this mission is likely to be the first and only manned mission to the Titanic in 2023. A weather window has just opened up and we are going to attempt a dive tomorrow. We started steaming from St. Johns, Newfoundland, Canada yesterday and are planning to start dive operations around 4am tomorrow morning. Until then we have a lot of preparations and briefings to do.

“The team on the sub has a couple of legendary explorers, some of which have done over 30 dives to the RMS Titanic since the 1980s including PH Nargeolet.

“More expedition updates to follow IF the weather holds!”

Hamish Harding is a recipient of the Living Legends Of Aviation Awards.
Hamish Harding is a recipient of the Living Legends Of Aviation Awards. Picture: Getty

On Sunday at 6:42pm, Action Aviation shared the news that Mr Harding had set off on the dive.

Posting to Twitter, the account said: “The sub had a successful launch and Hamish is currently diving.”

Mr Harding’s step-son, Brian Szasz posted to Facebook: “Thoughts and prayers for my stepfather Hamish Harding as his submarine has gone missing exploring Titanic.

"Search and rescue mission is underway.

"Thoughts and prayers for my mom and Hamish Harding."

OceanGate Expeditions, a private company that organises deep sea expeditions to view the wreck, confirmed in a statement on Monday that one of their submersibles - named Titan - has gone missing. Five people are on board the missing sub, with one of them understood to be UK billionaire Hamish Harding.

It has since emerged that the submersible lost contact just an hour and 45 minutes into the dive and that it has been missing for more than a day.

US and Canadian naval surveillance aircrafts are carrying out searches for the missing vessel.

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