By Marie Jackson & Matthew Davis
Search teams are in a race against time to find a submersible that went missing during a dive to the Titanic’s wreck on Sunday.
Details are still emerging. Here’s what we know so far about the five who are on board:
Image source, Lotus Eyes Photography
Image caption, Hamish Harding has flown to space and visited the South Pole
The 58-year-old is chairman of aircraft firm Action Aviation and a renowned explorer who has flown to space and holds three Guinness World Records.
For Mr Harding, a private jet dealer, the trip to Titanic’s wreckage was the latest in a string of adventures.
He has visited the South Pole multiple times – once with former US astronaut Buzz Aldrin, and flew into space in 2022 on board Blue Origin’s fifth human-crewed flight.
His three world records include the longest time spent at full ocean depth during a dive to the deepest part of the Mariana Trench.
Last weekend, Mr Harding said on social media that a ship had set off from the city of St John’s, in Newfoundland, Canada, for the destination of the Titanic wreck.
From there, he and the crew were planning to start diving operations in the submersible down to the wreck at around 04:00 local time (08:00 GMT) on Sunday morning.
He wrote on Facebook that he was “proud to finally announce” that he would be aboard the mission to the wreck of the Titanic.
Action Aviation said on Sunday that the sub had had a successful launch and Mr Harding was “currently diving”.
Later, his stepson Brian Szasz said in a now-deleted post on Facebook: He “has gone missing on (the) submarine.”
Friend David Mearns, a marine scientist and expedition leader, described Mr Harding as a “very charming guy” whom he had first met at a dinner several years ago.
“By the end of it, we were planning an expedition to climb Kilimanjaro with our families – it didn’t happen because Covid got in the way. He does these extreme adventures and this was the latest one,” he said.
Patrick Woodhead, founder of British tour operator White Desert Antarctica, said Mr Harding was an “incredible” aviation explorer and great advocate for discovering new pathways to make the world a better place.
Thoughts and prayers were with Mr Harding’s wife, Linda, and his sons, he added.
Shahzada and Suleman Dawood
Image source, Facebook/Christine Dawood
Image caption, Shahzada Dawood with his wife Christine
British businessman Shahzada Dawood, from one of Pakistan’s richest families, was travelling with his son, Suleman, on the sub.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the Dawood family in Pakistan said they 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,” it said.
The Dawood family, who live in Surbiton, south-west London, are in Canada for a month.
Shahzada Dawood is a trustee of the Seti Institute, a research organisation in California, according to its website.
It says he lives with his wife, Christine, and his children, Suleman and Alina.
He is also vice-chairman of Pakistani conglomerate Engro Corporation, which said it was praying for the “swift and safe return” of them both.
In their statement, his parents said: “We are very grateful for the concern being shown by our colleagues and friends and would like to request everyone to pray for their safety.”
It went on to say the family was well looked after and were praying for the safe return of their family members.
Shahzada’s father, Hussain Dawood, was a founding patron of the King’s charity, Prince’s Trust International.
Its chief executive Will Straw said they were shocked by the news and were praying for a rescue.
The British Asian Trust, which Shahzada was a supporter of, also said thoughts and prayers were with the Dawood family.
CEO Richard Hawkes said: “All of us are absolutely devastated by the terrible news that our great friend and supporter Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman are on board.”
Image source, JOEL SAGET/AFP
Image caption, Paul-Henry Nargeolet was a diver in the French Navy
Paul-Henry Nargeolet, a former French Navy diver, was also on board. The 77-year-old is director of underwater research at a company that owns the rights to the Titanic wreck.
Mathieu Johann, a spokesperson who has been in touch with his daughter Chloé Nargeolet, said he hoped Mr Nargeolet’s composure and military career would reassure the crew on board, even if the operation’s outcome did not depend on him.
Shortly before boarding the sub, Mr Nargeolet said he had been looking forward to an expedition next year to recover objects from the wreck, he added.
Marine scientist David Mearns, who knew Mr Nargeolet professionally, said he would have visited the wreckage many times and would understand the seabed and know to stay calm in the circumstances.
Image caption, The BBC filmed Stockton Rush inside the submersible in 2022
The chief executive of OceanGate, Stockton Rush, is also widely reported to be on the vessel.
Contact with the small sub was lost about an hour and 45 minutes into its dive in the mid-Atlantic on Sunday.
Now search teams are racing to find the vessel but so far there has been no sign of it.
Military planes, a submarine and sonar buoys have so far been used.
Titanic’s wreck lies some 435 miles (700km) south of St John’s, Newfoundland, though the rescue mission is being run from Boston, Massachusetts.
The US Coast Guard said a research ship called the Polar Prince had conducted a surface search for the sub on Monday evening.
It is used to transport submersibles to the wreckage site and was the support ship on Sunday’s tourist expedition.
The British Foreign Office said it was in contact with the families of three British nationals and were in touch with the local authorities.
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said: “We wish them all the luck and we hope they will be swiftly found and returned to their loved ones.”
The eight-day trip involving a journey to the wreck of the Titanic – run by OceanGate Expeditions – costs $250,000 (£195,600) per person and starts in St John’s.
Participants travel some 370 miles (595km) on a larger ship to the area above the wreck site, then do an eight-hour dive to the Titanic on a truck-sized submersible known as Titan.
The Titan is designed to carry five people and has “life support” for 96 hours for the crew, according to the firm’s website.
The Titanic sits 3,800m (12,500ft) beneath the surface at the bottom of the Atlantic. It is about 600km (370 miles) off the coast of Newfoundland.
The passenger liner, which was the largest ship of its time, hit an iceberg on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York in 1912. Of the 2,200 passengers and crew onboard, more than 1,500 died.