Missing Titanic submersible: Who are the 5 passengers on board?

Click to play video: 'Crews racing to find missing Titanic tourist submersible: ‘It would be a miracle if they’re recovered alive’'
Crews racing to find missing Titanic tourist submersible: ‘It would be a miracle if they’re recovered alive’
WATCH: Crews are working around the clock to try to find the OceanGate Expeditions submersible that disappeared June 18 while taking tourists underwater to view the wreckage of the Titanic. Eric Sorensen explains what it's like inside the sub – Jun 20, 2023

A tourist submersible taking wealthy adventurers on a US$250,000 trip to see the Titanic shipwreck is still missing somewhere in the northern Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Newfoundland.

Crews lost contact with the submersible shortly after it began its dive Sunday morning. With 96 hours of reserve oxygen on board in the event of an emergency, the clock is ticking to locate the missing sub and rescue its five passengers.

Those on board include a billionaire adventurer, a wealthy businessman and his son and the CEO of OceanGate, the company that operates the missing submersible. Here’s what we know about them so far.

Click to play video: 'Missing Titanic sub: How could the vessel disappear?'
Missing Titanic sub: How could the vessel disappear?

Hamish Harding

The British billionaire and chairman of aviation consultancy Action Aviation is among those missing, the company confirmed to the Associated Press.

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In 2016, Harding accompanied former astronaut Buzz Aldrin to the South Pole, when Aldrin became the oldest person ever to reach the Antarctic region, at 86. Harding was also on board the 2019 “One More Orbit” flight mission that set a Guinness World Record for the fastest circumnavigation of Earth by aircraft over both geographic poles.

Two days before the sub disappeared, Dubai-based Harding announced he would be on board the OceanGate vessel as a mission specialist.

“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,” he posted to Instagram.

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“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,” he wrote Saturday. “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.”

Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman

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The Dawood family has confirmed that the British businessman and his son are among those on board.

Shahzada is vice chairman of one of Pakistan’s largest conglomerates, Engro Corporation, which was founded as a fertilizer business but has since expanded into vehicle manufacturing, energy and digital technologies. He is also on the board of trustees of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute (SETI).

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The Dawood family is one of the richest in Pakistan, with close links to the U.K.

According to SETI, Shahzada lives in the U.K. with his wife Christine, and children Suleman and Alina.

Portrait of Shahzada Dawood, a British businessman and a member of one of Pakistan’s richest families.
Portrait of Shahzada Dawood, a British businessman and a member of one of Pakistan’s richest families. SETI

Paul-Henri Nargeolet

The 77-year-old French explorer is the director of underwater research at the Experiential Media Group (EM Group), which owns the salvage rights to the Titanic wreck.

A former commander in the French Navy, Nargeolet was both a deep diver and a mine sweeper. After retiring from the navy, he led the first recovery expedition to the Titanic in 1987 and is a leading authority on the wreck site.

Paul-Henri Nargeolet, director of a deep ocean research project dedicated to the Titanic, poses next to a miniature version of the sunken ship inside a new exhibition, at ‘Paris Expo’, on May 31, 2013, in Paris. JOEL SAGET/AFP via Getty Images

In a 2020 interview with France Bleu radio, he spoke of the dangers of deep diving, saying: “I am not afraid to die, I think it will happen one day.”

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According to the EM Group, Nargeolet “has led several expeditions to Titanic, completed 35 dives in the submersible himself, and supervised the recovery of 5,000 artifacts, including the recovery of the ‘big piece’ a 20-ton section of Titanic’s hull (now on display in Las Vegas).”

He is sometimes referred to as “Mr. Titanic.”

Click to play video: 'B.C. businessman remembers Titanic excursion on submarine'
B.C. businessman remembers Titanic excursion on submarine

Stockton Rush

The founder and CEO of OceanGate, the U.S.-based company that operates the missing submersible, is also on board, the company confirmed Tuesday afternoon.

Rush’s biography on OceanGate’s website says he became “the youngest jet transport rated pilot in the world” at age 19 in 1981, and flew for Overseas National Airways under a subcontract from Saudi Arabian Airlines during his college summers.

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In this Friday, June 28, 2013 photo, submersible pilot Randy Holt, right, communicates with the support boat as he and Stockton Rush, left, CEO and Co-Founder of OceanGate Inc., dive in the company’s submersible, “Antipodes,” about three miles off the coast of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

Rush founded OceanGate in 2009 and later co-founded the OceanGate Foundation, “a non-profit organization which aims to catalyze emerging marine technology to further discoveries in marine science, history, and archaeology.”

“It is an amazingly beautiful wreck,” Rush told Britain’s Sky News of the Titanic earlier this year. “You can see inside, we dipped down and saw the grand staircase and saw some of the chandeliers still hanging.”

OceanGate owns and operates three five-person submersibles for deep sea exploration. They are used for “site survey, scientific research, film production and exploration travel,” its website reads, and they can reach depths as great as 4,000 metres.

 — With files from Reuters

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