(NEW YORK) — After days of desperate searches throughout the Atlantic Ocean, the U.S. Coast Guard announced Thursday that the five passengers aboard the missing submersible vessel were killed when vessel suffered a catastrophic implosion.
Stockton Rush, Shahzada Dawood, his son Suleman Dawood, Hamish Harding and Paul-Henri Nargeolet were inside the vessel that embarked on the deep-dive tour, according to OceanGate, the company that operated the submersible. Their families were notified after debris of the vessel was found on the ocean floor, according to the Coast Guard.
“Our hearts are with these five souls and every member of their families during this tragic time. We grieve the loss of life and joy they brought to everyone they knew,” OceanGate said in a statement Thursday.
“Our entire focus is on the wellbeing of the crew and every step possible is being taken to bring the five crew members back safely,” OceanGate continued.
The submersible was designed with life support to sustain five crew members for 96 hours. On Thursday, the Coast Guard said it found debris on the ocean floor that was consistent with “catastrophic loss of the pressure chamber,” roughly 1,600 feet from the Titanic wreckage.
The investigation into the incident is ongoing.
Here’s what we know about the victims.
Hamish Harding was no stranger to exploration.
Harding circumnavigated the Earth in 2019. He made a dive in 2021 to the deepest point on earth, Challenger Deep, in the Mariana Trench. And he traveled into space last year aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard.
Harding, a British businessman and chairman of Action Aviation, previewed his dive to see the Titanic shipwreck in a Facebook post.
“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,” he posted on Sunday. “A weather window has just opened up and we are going to attempt a dive tomorrow.”
Harding, a licensed air transport pilot who holds three Guinness World Records, was “an extraordinarily accomplished individual who has successfully undertaken challenging expeditions,” Action Aviation said in a statement.
Along with his ocean dives and blasting off to space, he helped with “the reintroduction of Cheetahs from Namibia to India” and “has been to the South Pole a number of times,” the company said. Harding was inducted in 2022 as a Living Legend of Aviation.
Shahzada and Suleman Dawood
Shahzada Dawood was vice chairman of Engro Corporation Limited, a sprawling business headquartered in Karachi, Pakistan. Suleman Dawood is his son, the family said in a statement.
“Our son Shahzada Dawood and his son, Suleman, had embarked on a journey to visit the remnants of the Titanic in the Atlantic Ocean. As of now, contact has been lost with their submersible craft and there is limited information available,” the Dawood family said in a statement Tuesday.
The Dawoods were both British citizens, according to a colleague.
Shahzada Dawood, a husband and father of two, loved photography, gardening and exploring natural habitats, according to the family.
Suleman Dawood, a university student, was passionate about science fiction literature and learning new things.
The family said in a statement Tuesday that they were grateful “for the concern being shown by our colleagues and friends and would like to request everyone to pray for their safety while granting the family privacy at this time.”
Paul-Henri Nargeolet, known as PH, a diver and Titanic researcher, was among the passengers. He was the director of Underwater Research at RMS Titanic Inc., according to the company.
Nargeolet led six expeditions to the Titanic site, most recently in 2010.
According to OceanGate’s website, Stockton Rush “oversees OceanGate’s financial and engineering strategies and provides a clear vision for development of 4,000 meter (13,123 feet) and 6,000 meter (19,685 feet) capable crewed submersibles and their partner launch and recovery platforms.”
Rush, who studied aerospace engineering at Princeton University and obtained an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley, “has written numerous engineering articles on crewed submersible vehicles in subsea operations,” OceanGate’s website said.
ABC News’ Matt Foster, Miles Cohen, Mark Guarino, Emily Shapiro, Peter Charalambous, Sam Sweeney, Laryssa Demkiw, Gio Benitez and Victoria Beaule contributed to this report.
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