As Families Mourn, Sub Investigations Are Underway

Aunt says teen was 'terrified' before trip
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 23, 2023 7:00 AM CDT
As Families Mourn, Sub Investigations Are Underway
This photo provided by Engro Corporation Limited shows Suleman Dawood.   (Engro Corporation Limited via AP)

As friends and relatives mourn the five people who died in the Titan submersible, more questions are being raised about safety, with one expert calling the tragedy "clearly preventable." William Kohnen, chairman of the Manned Underwater Vehicles Committee, tells the BBC that the industry hasn't seen any other major disasters since the 1960s. He says a submersible like the Titan would not be allowed to carry passengers in US or Canadian waters without being certified. The committee wrote to OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, one of the five who died, in 2018 warning of potentially "catastrophic" problems with the vessel.

  • The youngest passenger was 19-year-old Suleman Dawood, a student at a Glasgow university who died along with his father, British-Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood. His aunt, Azmeh Dawood, tells NBC that Suleman told relatives he was "terrified and "wasn't very up" for the trip to the Titanic wreckage, but he didn't want to disappoint his father on Father's Day weekend. She says her older brother was obsessed with the Titanic from a young age. The aunt says she had not been in touch with many family members in recent years but remained close to Suleman.

  • Rear Admiral John Mauger of the US First Coast Guard District said investigations are underway, though it is a very complex case involving people from several countries. "I know there are also a lot of questions about how, why, and when did this happen," he said, per the Guardian. "Those are questions we will collect as much information as we can about now." Mauger said Thursday that debris found around 1,600 feet from the Titanic "is consistent with the catastrophic loss of the pressure chamber."
  • Besides Rush and the Dawoods, the other two to die were British aviation CEO Hamish Harding, 58, and French Titanic expert Paul-Henry Nargeolet, 77. Harding "was one of a kind and we adored him," his family said in a statement. "He was a passionate explorer—whatever the terrain—who lived his life for his family, his business, and for the next adventure."
  • Dik Barton, the first British man to dive to the Titanic, tells the BBC that his friend Nargeolet was an "extraordinary individual" and they dived together. But that was part of "a professional, underwater exploration using purpose-built submersibles which are designed to work at those depths," he says, noting that "there were many red flags flying" with the design of the Titan.
(James Cameron says he "felt in his bones" what had happened as soon as heard communication with the sub was lost on Sunday.)

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