OceanGate Expeditions’ teen Titanic submarine passenger, Suleman Dawood, was hesitant to embark on the voyage but went for his father, according to his aunt. 

While speaking with NBC News on Thursday, June 22, Azmeh Dawood, recalled her 19-year-old nephew saying that he “wasn’t very up for [the trip]” and felt “terrified” to travel more than two miles underwater to explore the remnants of the sunken Titanic. However, he went for his father, Shahzada Dawood, since it was Father’s Day weekend, Azmeh told the outlet. 

“I am thinking of Suleman, who is 19, in there, just perhaps gasping for breath,” she told the outlet. “It’s been crippling, to be honest.” 

After learning that OceanGate and the U.S. Coast Guard confirmed all five passengers were presumed dead later that day, Azmeh told the outlet she was in “disbelief.” 

“It’s an unreal situation,” she emotionally explained. “I feel like I’ve been caught in a really bad film with a countdown, but you didn’t know what you’re counting down to. I personally have found it kind of difficult to breathe thinking of them.”

Late OceanGate CEO’s Wife Wendy Rush Is Descendant of Titanic Victims
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During a press conference that day, Coast Guard officials declared that the “debris field” they had found surrounding the wreck of the Titanic concluded that the Titan submersible had imploded. 

“This is an incredibly unforgiving environment,” they explained. “The debris is consistent with a catastrophic implosion of the vessel. … The location of Titan submersible was in an area approximately 1,600 feet above the wreck of the Titanic.”

OceanGate Press Conference Reveals Fate of Titanic Submarine Passengers: See Coast Guard Statements
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The five pieces that searchers had initially uncovered were “consistent with catastrophic loss of the pressure chambers.” 

Family members of the passengers — Shahzada, Suleman, Hamish Harding, Paul-Henri Nargeolet and the CEO of OceanGate, Stockton Rush — were immediately notified. 

The search and eventual disaster of the Titan has gripped the world after it mysteriously went missing two hours after it submerged in the Atlantic Ocean on Sunday, June 18. The vessel was not a normal submarine that could navigate the depths of the ocean on its own. It required its mothership, the Polar Prince, to guide it back up to the surface. However, after the Polar Prince lost contact with the Titan, they notified the Coast Guard and a search for the passengers began. 

The Titan was reportedly around the size of a minivan and was equipped with 96 hours of oxygen, which the Coast Guard confirmed would have run out on June 22 if the submersible was still intact. 

Several celebrities have reacted to the tragedy, including Titanic film director James Cameron. 

“I’m struck by the similarity of the Titanic disaster itself, where the captain was repeatedly warned about ice ahead of his ship and yet he steamed at full speed into an ice field on a moonless night,” Cameron, 68, told ABC News that day, adding, “It’s really quite surreal.” 

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