19-Year-Old Titan Passenger Was 'Terrified' Before Trip, His Aunt Said

By Bill Galluccio

June 23, 2023

Photo: Getty Images

Suleman Dawood, the 19-year-old passenger on the doomed deep-sea Titan submersible, was showing signs of trepidation before the trip to the bottom of the ocean with his father, Shahzada Dawood, and three others. 

Dawood's aunt, Azmeh Dawood, told NBC News that he "wasn't very up for it" and felt "terrified" of riding the submersible to the bottom of the ocean to explore the wreck of the Titanic. She said that he only went because the trip happened to fall on Father's Day weekend.

"I am thinking of Suleman, who is 19, in there, just perhaps gasping for breath ... It's been crippling, to be honest," Azmeh said.

The other three men who perished inside the submersible were OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, British businessman Hamish Harding and former French navy officer Paul-Henry Nargeolet, who was one of the world's leading Titanic experts.

The United States Coast Guard said that the vessel likely lost pressure in the chamber, causing a catastrophic implosion. Investigators have not said what caused the submersible to malfunction and lose pressure.

"The debris is consistent with the catastrophic loss of the pressure chamber. Upon this determination, we immediately notified the families," U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral John Mauger said. "On behalf of the United States Coast Guard and the entire unified command, I offer my deepest condolences to the families."

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