Five people aboard a tourist submersible that went missing near the sinking of the Titanic in the North Atlantic are presumed dead, after the US Coast Guard said Thursday that the wreckage had been found after a frantic days of search for the ship.
Among those aboard the ship were the boss of the tour operator, a French submarine operator known as “Mr Titanic”, a British aviation tycoon and a wealthy Pakistani businessman and his son.
Stockton Rush is the chief executive of OceanGate Expeditions, a company based in Washington state that operates tourist dives and was founded in 2009.
According to his company’s website, Rush began his career in 1981 as the youngest certified jet transport pilot in the world, aged 19.
In 1984, Rush became a flight test engineer on the F-15 fighter jet program for the McDonnell Douglas company.
But over the past two decades, he’s thrown himself into a lot of ocean-related tech including Seattle’s BlueView Technologies, which makes small, high-frequency sonar systems.
After a long period when trips were postponed after Rush failed to obtain the proper permits for the project’s support ship, OceanGate Expeditions began taking paying customers to the Titanic’s wreck in 2021.
Nicknamed “Mr Titanic”, French submarine operator Paul-Henri Nargeolet was one of the ship’s crew.
The 77-year-old, who served in the French navy for 25 years, dived around the world and spoke openly about the risks of his exploits in the most inaccessible waters of the world’s oceans.
Connecticut-based Nargeolet has made more than 30 dives to explore the Titanic and managed to recover about 5,500 items, including a fragment weighing 20 tons that is on display in Los Angeles.
His research produced a 2022 book in which he questioned the findings of the British and American inquiries into the 1912 disaster, arguing that five small holes were to blame rather than a 100-meter gash that following the collision of the Titanic with an iceberg.
Harding, 58, is a British aviation tycoon who holds three Guinness World Records and has a history of thrilling adventures.
A year later, he became a space tourist through Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ company Blue Origin.
He founded Action Aviation, a company that buys and sells aircraft with offices in Dubai and London’s Stansted airport, with UK media reporting that the UAE-based businessman is a billionaire.
He was based in the Indian city of Bengaluru for five years, as managing director of a logistics company, before founding Action Aviation in 2004.
His Guinness records are for the longest duration and distance covered at full ocean depth by a manned vessel, and the fastest circumnavigation through two Poles in an aircraft.
Shahzada and Suleman Dawood
Prominent Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood, 48, is the vice-chairman of Karachi-headquartered conglomerate Engro.
His son Suleman, 19, is a university student, and both have British citizenship.
A statement by family-run group Dawood Hercules described Shahzada as a “loving father” of two children who had a keen interest in “photography, especially wildlife photography, and exploring various natural residence”.
Engro has many investments in energy, agriculture, petrochemicals and telecommunications. By the end of 2022, the company announced a revenue of 350 billion rupees ($1.2 billion).
Shahzada’s father Hussain Dawood is regularly listed among the richest people in Pakistan in the domestic press.
Shahzada’s profile on Engro’s website says he also serves as a trustee on the board of The Dawood Foundation — a high-profile family education charity founded in 1960.
He was educated in the United States and Britain, according to the profile.