The five-person submersible, named Titan, left St. John’s on Sunday morning and lost contact with surface crews nearly two hours into the expedition.
The submarine has five passengers on board. Hamish Harding, a British billionaire was on the vessel. Harding posted to his Facebook page on June 17, announcing he had joined OceanGate Expeditions for their RMS Titanic Mission. “Due to the worst winter in Newfoundland in 40 years, this mission is likely to be the first and only manned mission to the Titanic in 2023,” wrote Harding. “A weather window has just opened up and we are going to attempt a dive tomorrow.”
Paul-Henry Nargeolet, a 77-year-old French explorer and director of an underwater research company that owns the rights to the Titanic wreck, is also on the submarine. According to CTV News, Nargeolet led the first recovery expedition to the Titanic in 1987 and is a leading authority on the wreck site
Also on board is Shahzada Dawood, and his son Suleman. The Suleman’s are members of one of Pakistan’s prominent families.
The founder and CEO of the vessel’s operating company OceanGate, Stockton Rush, is also on board Titan. In an interview in 2021, Rush spoke to NTV News about the potential benefits of Titanic tourism. “In following years the hope is that these individuals who show up will bring real resources to the community and will want to go off fly-fishing, or hiking, or go off and visit other sites,” said Rush.