Devastated wife and mother of Titanic sub victims reveals her son’s 'childhood excitement' before doomed trip

26 June 2023, 08:13

Christine Dawood and her husband, Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and (R) with son Suleman
Christine Dawood and her husband, Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and (R) with son Suleman. Picture: Social Media

By Asher McShane

The wife of one of the Titanic sub disaster victims has described how her son and husband ‘really wanted to go’ on the ill-fated trip.

Christine Dawood, in her first interview, described the moment he heard that communication with the sub has been lost.

“I didn’t comprehend at that moment what it meant - and then it just went downhill from there.”

Christine was onboard the Polar Prince mothership when communications were lost at 8am on Sunday June 18.

As a massive search effort was launched, she said she and her daughter clung to hope for days but said she “lost hope when we passed the 96 hour mark.”

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Christine Dawood pictured with her husband Shahzada Dawood
Christine Dawood pictured with her husband Shahzada Dawood. Picture: Facebook

“That's when I lost hope. That's when I sent the message to my family onshore, I said: 'I am preparing for the worst’.”

The widow tearfully said: “I miss them. I really, really miss them.”

She also described how her son Suleman, 19, planned to take his Rubik’s Cube on the trip to film a video of him solving the puzzle in the depths with the hope of breaking a world record.

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Disaster: The doomed OceanGate submersible
Disaster: The doomed OceanGate submersible. Picture: Alamy

“Suleman did a 10,000-piece lego Titanic. He applied for a world record because he wanted to solve a Rubik's Cube at the deepest point,” she said.

The sub suffered a ‘catastrophic implosion’ with the wreckage found 1,600ft from the bow of the Titanic.

Sharada, Suleman, and British billionaire Hamish Harding were passengers on board. OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush was also inside, with  Paul-Henry Nargeolet, 77, a former French navy diver and experienced Titanic diver. 

Christian revealed that she had originally planned to go down to the wreck with her husband, but the trip was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Polar Prince towing the Titan Titanic Expeditions submersible vessel on a barge for a tour of the Titanic
Polar Prince towing the Titan Titanic Expeditions submersible vessel on a barge for a tour of the Titanic. Picture: Alamy

“I stepped back and gave them space to set [Suleman] up, because he really wanted to go,” she said.

After communication was lost, she said: “We had loads of hope, that was the only thing that got us through it because we were hoping”.

“There were so many actions the people on this sub can do in order to surface... they would drop the weights, then the ascent would be slower, we were constantly looking at the surface. There was that hope.

“We all thought they are just going to come up so that shock was delayed by about 10 hours or so,” she told the BBC.

“By the time they were supposed to be up again, there was a time.... when they were supposed to be up on the surface again and when that time passed the real shock, not shock but the worry and the not so good feelings started.”

“My daughter didn't lose hope until the call with the Coastguard when they basically informed us that they had found debris.

“She is such an incredible young woman, she is so self-aware.

“She believes in science, and she really believe, just like if you board a plane, that the science, the mechanics, the engineering will work.”

When asked what the family's last words to each other were, she said: “We just hugged and joked actually, because Shahzada was so excited to go down, he was like a little child. 

“He had this ability of childhood excitement, they were both so excited.”