OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush flew to London to reassure UK businessman and his son over Titanic sub trip

3 July 2023, 13:33 | Updated: 3 July 2023, 21:46

The final images of the Dawood family before the sub trip
The final images of the Dawood family before the sub trip. Picture: Family handout/Alamy/Social media

By Emma Soteriou

OceanGate boss Stockton Rush flew to London to personally reassure businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son that the Titan sub was safe, family have said.

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Three months before the trip down to the Titanic wreckage, CEO Stockton Rush and his wife met with the Dawood family to brief them on the trip.

Mr Dawood's wife, Christine Dawood, said that Rush spoke to the family about the sub's design and safety but technical details of the trip remained unclear.

Rush is said to have believed the journey was "safer than crossing the street", despite previous warnings from experts that there were safety risks.

Read more: OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush hired 'university interns' to design electrical system of Titan sub

Read more: Titan sub's final moments revealed as crew was told they would be in total darkness for descent to Titanic wreck

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

"That engineering side, we just had no idea," Ms Dawood told The New York Times. 

"I mean, you sit in a plane without knowing how the engine works."

Mr Dawood and his 19-year-old son, Suleman, were among the five to have died after the "catastrophic implosion" of the sub.

The family had become fascinated with the Titanic after visiting an exhibition in Singapore in 2012.

The Dawoods
The Dawoods. Picture: Family Handout

Rush was also on the trip along with UK billionaire Hamish Harding and French explorer Paul Henry Nargeolet, having paid $250,000 a head.

Ms Dawood said she was on board the Titan's mother ship, the Polar Prince, with the couple's 17-year-old daughter Alina in St John's in Newfoundland. She was told not to worry when then sub lost contact.

The group was given two briefings before they left and were told to put on warm clothing to deal with cold temperatures.

They were also told to go on a "low-residue diet" prior to the voyage, and instructed not to have coffee in the morning.

The group were expected to be in total darkness and listening to their favourite music as the vessel descended.

They were hoping to become one of the few people alive to have seen the 12,000ft-deep wreck of the Titanic with their own eyes.

The explorer who narrowly avoided trip on missing OceanGate sub

It comes after a final image of Shahzada Dawood and his son emerged on Monday, showing them in orange life jackets shortly before boarding the Titan vessel.

On Thursday 22 June, four days after the sub had suffered communication failures, the debris of the sub was discovered.

It was uncovered by a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) at 3800 metres below the surface of the water.

Presumed human remains were later found, with the US Coast Guard saying in a statement: "United States medical professionals will conduct a formal analysis of presumed human remains that have been carefully recovered within the wreckage at the site of the incident."

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