The mother of the 19-year-old boy who perished along with his rich father in the Titan sub catastrophe has claimed that she was originally scheduled to be on the fateful vessel but offered her spot to her son because he “really wanted to go.”
Due of the epidemic, Christine Dawood and her husband Shahzada Dawood were forced to postpone a journey they had originally planned to go to the Titanic wreck.
She said that when their family reserved spots on this year’s OceanGate Expeditions mission, she ‘stepped back’ because her son Suleman, 19, was so keen to go.
The family boarded the Polar Prince, the sub’s support vessel, on Father’s Day hoping for the trip of a lifetime. Mrs. Dawood and her daughter Alina, 17, were still on board when word came through on June 18 that communications with Titan had been lost.
She and her daughter held out hope after they did not initially return but admitted she ‘lost hope’ when 96 hours had passed since her husband and son boarded the submersible, which indicated they had run out of oxygen.
The grieving mother said her daughter held out a bit longer until a call with the US Coast Guard last Thursday when they were informed debris had been found. It then became clear that an implosion had taken place.
The US Navy had detected sounds ‘consistent with an implosion’ soon after Titan lost contact on Sunday, but it was deemed ‘not definitive’ and the detail was not released publicly – with the search and rescue mission continuing until debris was found.
Speaking about initially holding out hope, Mrs Dawood told the BBC: ‘We all thought they are just going to come up, so that shock was delayed by about ten hours or so.
‘By the time they were supposed to be up again, there was a time…. when they were supposed to be up on the surface again and when that time passed, the real shock, not shock but the worry and the not-so-good feelings, started.
‘We had loads of hope, I think that was the only thing that got us through it because we were hoping and… there were so many actions the people on this sub can do in order to surface… they would drop the weights, then the ascent would be slower, we were constantly looking at the surface. There was that hope.
‘There was so many things we would go through where we would think “it’s just slow right now, it’s slow right now”. But there was a lot of hope.’
She said she ‘lost hope’ when 96 hours had passed since her husband and son boarded the submersible.
She revealed that is when she sent a message to her family saying she was ‘preparing for the worst’.
UK-based businessman Shahzada and Suleman were two of the five victims killed instantly when the submersible suffered a ‘catastrophic implosion’ just 1,600ft from the bow of the Titanic, according to the US Coast Guard.
Mrs. Dawood revealed that she had planned to go with her husband to view the Titanic wreck in the OceanGate sub, but that their trip was cancelled due to the Covid pandemic.
‘Then I stepped back and gave them space to set [Suleman] up, because he really wanted to go,’ she said.
‘I was really happy for them because both of them, they really wanted to do that for a very long time.’
Mrs. Dawood shared how she and Alina hugged and joked with Shahzada and Suleman before the pair entered the submersible.
Suleman, a student at Strathclyde University, had taken his Rubik’s Cube on the trip as he hoped to break the world record for solving the puzzle at the greatest depth, she revealed.