Vice-Chairman of Engro Corporation Limited Shahzada Dawood, who is said to be among the passengers onboard the submarine that went missing on trip to the Titanic wreckage is seen with his son Suleman Dawood in this undated handout picture.Reuters
The mother of the teenager who died on the Titanic submersible says she was supposed to go instead.
But Christine Dawood said she “stepped back” to let her 19-year-old son embark on the dive.
She said he’d looked forward to the dive for a “very long time,” contrasting earlier remarks from his aunt.
The mother of Suleman Dawood, the 19-year-old who died with his father in the Titanic submersible, said she originally planned to join her husband on the vessel’s fateful dive, but let her son go instead.
Christine Dawood told the BBC on Sunday that she and her husband, British-Pakistani multimillionaire Shahzada Dawood, initially booked spots for themselves to see the wreck of the Titanic, but that their trip was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
She said that when the Dawoods embarked on this year’s mission, she “stepped back” to instead give her teenage son a chance to visit the shipwreck “because he really wanted to go,” per the BBC.
“I was really happy for them because both of them, they really wanted to do that for a very long time,” she told the outlet.
Their family of four — including Christine Dawood’s 17-year-old daughter — were on board the submersible’s mother ship, the Polar Prince, on the day of the dive, she said.
Dawood said she and her daughter, Alina, hugged and joked with her husband and son before the two men entered the submersible, called the Titan, on Father’s Day.
Her son loved solving Rubik’s Cubes, and brought one with him on the dive, she said.
“He said: ‘I’m going to solve the Rubik’s Cube 3,700 meters below sea at the Titanic,'” Dawood said.
She told the BBC that she and her daughter want to learn to solve the Rubik’s Cube in her son’s honor.
“I miss them,” Dawood said. “I really, really miss them.”
Dawood’s comments contrast the remarks made on Thursday by Suleman Dawood’s aunt, Azmeh Dawood, who told NBC News that the teenager was “terrified” when he joined his father on the trip to the Titanic’s wreck.
The aunt, who is the older sister of Shahzada Dawood, said her nephew “wasn’t very up for it” but embarked on the trip to impress his father.
She told NBC that she’d fallen out of contact with her brother after moving from England to Amsterdam several years ago, though she still felt close to her nephew.
Shahzada and Suleman Dawood went missing on June 18, alongside two other passengers and a pilot when the Titan disappeared less than two hours into its dive to the Titanic.
They were declared dead on Thursday, after authorities found debris belonging to the Titan on the ocean floor, at a depth of around 13,000 feet. The submersible imploded in a “catastrophic loss of the pressure chamber,” the US Coast Guard said.
At such depths, any collapse in the hull would have instantly killed all five passengers.
The other three passengers on board were British billionaire Hamish Harding, former French navy diver Paul-Henri Nargeolet, and Stockton Rush, the CEO of the company that runs tours in the submersible.
Meanwhile, authorities are searching the Polar Prince to determine if a criminal investigation into the implosion is necessary. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said on Saturday that there’s “no suspicion of criminal activity” yet, but is not ruling the possibility out.
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