Suleman Dawood, the 19-year-old who died aboard OceanGate’s Titan submersible last week, hoped to set the world record for solving a Rubik’s Cube in the deep ocean, his mother said Monday.
Dawood and his father, Shahzada, had finished the process of applying to the Guinness World Records and entered the submersible equipped with a camera to record the achievement. Christine Dawood and her daughter remained aboard the Polar Prince mother ship while the submersible descended toward the wreck of the Titanic earlier this month, she told the BBC in an interview.
Christine spoke of the moment the crew of the Prince informed her they had lost communications with the submersible.
“I didn’t comprehend at that moment what it meant – and then it just went downhill from there,” she said.
Christine explained that she and her husband had initially planned to visit the Titanic together in an earlier trip, but the COVID-19 pandemic had hampered the plans. Her son then took her place in later plans to visit the wreck.
“Then I stepped back and gave them space to set [Suleman] up, because he really wanted to go,” she told BBC.
Suleman and Shahzada were among the five passengers who perished when OceanGate’s submersible suffered a catastrophic implosion roughly 1 hour and 45 minutes into their descent toward the Titanic. The others included U.K. billionaire Hamish Harding, French mariner Paul-Henry Nargeolet, and OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush.
Azmeh Dawood, the sister of Shahzada and aunt to Suleman, says the 19-year-old was “terrified” to go on the Titanic trip. She told NBC News that Suleman had told a relative that he “wasn’t very up for it,” but decided to go on the trip because it fell on Father’s Day weekend.
The U.S. Coast Guard embarked on a days-long search for the lost submersible last week. It was believed that the occupants may still have been alive and surviving on the 96-hours worth of oxygen aboard the craft.
Three days of searching ultimately uncovered a debris field “consistent with the catastrophic loss of the pressure chamber” near the wreck of the Titanic.