An OceanGate submersible known as The Titan made headlines on June 18, 2023, when it embarked on a journey to the Atlantic Ocean floor to view the sunken Titanic wreckage and disappeared with five passengers on board. Four days later, the U.S. Coast Guard declared the submarine passengers dead after finding that the Titan had imploded underwater.
“This is an incredibly unforgiving environment,” the Coast Guard said in a press conference on June 22. “The debris is consistent with a catastrophic implosion of the vessel.”
The speakers revealed that the five pieces of debris they found were “consistent with catastrophic loss of the pressure chambers.” The families of the victims were immediately notified.
Keep scrolling for more information on the five victims aboard the Titan.
Paul-Henri Nargeolet, 77, was a French explorer who worked as the director of Underwater Research Program at Premier Exhibitions, RMS Titanic, Inc., according to his LinkedIn. He also served in the French Navy for more than two decades, working as a deep-sea diver, a submarine pilot and a mine-clearing diver.
Paul-Henri’s extensive knowledge of the sunken vessel earned him the nickname “Mr. Titanic.” He had previously made more than 35 dives down to the Titanic before the Titan’s voyage in June 2023, and he was part of the earliest excavations of the Titanic site in the late 1980s. Additionally, Paul-Henri made appearances in the documentaries Titanic: The Legend Lives On (1994) and Deep Inside the Titanic (1999) and published a book, Dans les profondeurs du Titanic (English translation: In the Depths of the Titanic).
Stockton Rush, 61, was the CEO and founder of OceanGate Expeditions. He graduated from Princeton University with a BSE in Aerospace, Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering in 1984, according to his LinkedIn. Stockton then received his Master’s in Business Administration from University of California Berkeley Haas School of Business in 1989.
Stockton founded OceanGate Expeditions in 2009 and a nonprofit organization known as OceanGate Foundation in 2012. While Stockton initially had dreams of becoming an astronaut one day, he told Smithsonian Magazine in 2019 that his dreams changed after the first commercial aircraft was launched in space by Richard Branson.
“I had this epiphany that this was not at all what I wanted to do,” Rush explained. “I didn’t want to go up into space as a tourist. I wanted to be Captain Kirk on the Enterprise; I wanted to explore.”
Hamish Harding, 58, was a British businessman and billionaire based in the United Arab Emirates. He served as the chairman and owner of Action Aviation, a “sales and operations company in the business jet and helicopter fields, including aeromedical,” according to his LinkedIn.
In July 2019, Hamish served as mission director and crew pilot for One More Orbit, a flight mission that set an around-the-world record of 46 hours, 40 minutes and 22 seconds. The mission is featured in the One More Orbit documentary, available on Amazon Prime Video.
“I am proud to finally announce that I joined OceanGate Expeditions for their RMS TITANIC Mission as a mission specialist on the sub going down to the Titanic,” he wrote on LinkedIn the day before the Titan disappeared.
Shahzada Dawood, 48, was a wealthy Pakistani businessman and vice chairman of Engro Corp., a fertilizer company in Karachi, Pakistan. He previously worked as the director of the company for 20 years, according to his LinkedIn.
Shahzada graduated from the University of Buckingham with a Bachelor of Laws in 1998 before getting his MSc in Textile Marketing at Philadelphia University.
Shahzada supported The Prince’s Trust International and The British Asian Trust charities, both of which were founded by King Charles III.
Friends and family of Shahzada told The New York Times that he was passionate about science and exploration.
Shahzada’s son, Sulaiman Dawood, 19, was also aboard the vessel. He was a student at Strathclyde University in Glasgow.
Sulaiman was a “big fan of science fiction literature and learning new things,” a statement from his family read, per Evening Standard.
Have a tip? Send it to us! Email In Touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.