In a devastating turn of events that has left the world in shock, the Titanic submersible mission to explore the fabled wreckage of the Titanic has ended in tragedy. The ill-fated submarine, named the Titan, was carrying a crew of five individuals who embarked on an adventure.

Among the victims were Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman Dawood, British adventurer Hamish Harding, and the esteemed French deep-sea explorer and Titanic expert Paul-Henri Nargeolet and OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush.

Therefore what was meant to be an awe-inspiring journey turned into an unthinkable nightmare as the vessel reportedly imploded, tragically taking the lives of everyone on board.

As news of their missing spread, an immense international search effort was immediately launched, with teams of dedicated searchers working tirelessly to find any sign of the missing crew members. Their mission was to uncover the secrets of the deep and bring closure to this heart-wrenching chapter. Earlier in the day, these determined search crews made a somber discovery – an area strewn with debris near the Titanic site, suspected to be remnants of the ill-fated Titan.

Rear Admiral John Mauger, commander of the US’ First Coast Guard District, addressed the public, confirming that the wreckage found aligns with the devastating implosion of the submersible. The fragments were located approximately 490m away from the bow of the Titanic, resting silently on the ocean floor.

Although experts carefully examined the recovered debris, it was too early to determine the exact moment when the implosion occurred. However, a remotely-operated vehicle dispatched by a Canadian ship successfully located five significant parts of the ill-fated submersible on June 22.

The 6.70m vehicle embarked on its dive to the Titanic site, carrying the hopes and dreams of its crew members, only to lose contact with its support ship on that fateful June 18. OceanGate, the company responsible for operating the submersible, released a heart-wrenching statement expressing their profound grief and confirming the devastating loss of these valiant explorers.

Alongside the outpouring of condolences, questions arise about the safety protocols and procedures followed aboard the Titan. This incident has sparked conversations about the safety measures, thorough risk assessments, and robust contingency plans necessary to protect the lives of those who dare to venture into the uncharted depths of the ocean.

This undated image courtesy of OceanGate Expeditions shows their Titan submersible launching from a platform. HANDOUT/OCEANGATE EXPEDITIONS/AFP

The famous five in Titan submersible

The passengers aboard the ill-fated voyage were widely known before embarking on this expedition. Among them were Stockton Rush, the CEO of Oceangate, Hamish Harding, a prominent British business mogul, Paul Henri Nargeolet, a skilled French diver and explorer, and the father-son duo from Pakistan, Shahzada Dawood and Suleman Dawood.

Stockton Rush, a British businessman and the founder of OceanGate, held the position of CEO. His expertise lay in developing submersibles capable of descending to remarkable depths of up to 6,000m beneath the ocean’s surface.

Hamish Harding, the chairman of Action Aviation, a company specialising in aviation sales and consulting, was renowned for his adventurous spirit. He had earned two Guinness World Records – one for the fastest flight around both of Earth’s poles in 2019, and another for the longest duration at full ocean depth by a crewed vessel and the longest distance traveled along the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the ocean.

This combination of pictures created on June 21, 2023 shows Titan submersible passengers (left-right, top to bottom) Hamish Harding, chairman of Action Aviation, a company specialising in aviation sales and consulting; OceanGate Expeditions founder and CEO Stockton Rush; Henri Nargeolet, director of a deep ocean research project dedicated to the Titanic; Suleman Dawood and his father Shahzada Dawood, vice-chairman of Karachi-headquartered conglomerate Engro. JOEl SAGET/AFP/DIRTY DOZEN PRODUCTIONS/OCEANGATE EXPEDITIONS/DAWOOD HERCULES CORPORATION

Known by the nickname “Mr Titanic,” Paul Henri Nargeolet was a highly respected individual who had an exceptional level of knowledge and expertise concerning the historic ship. He had served in the French Navy for 22 years, reaching the rank of commander. Throughout his career, Nargeolet completed 37 dives to the Titanic wreckage in a submersible and played a pivotal role in retrieving 5,000 artifacts, including a massive 20-tonne section of the hull.

Shahzada Dawood, a prosperous businessman, held the position of vice chairman at Engro, a prominent Pakistani energy investment company, as well as Dawood Hercules Corp, an investment and holdings firm. He was recognised as one of the wealthiest individuals in Pakistan and served on the boards of prestigious organisations such as the SETI Institute, a NASA-funded nonprofit dedicated to extraterrestrial research, and Prince’s Trust International, a charity supported by Prince Charles.

Suleman Dawood, a 19-year-old college student and the son of Shahzada Dawood, had recently completed his first year as a business major at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland.