A family friend of the Dawood family has hit back at claims that Suleman was ‘terrified’ of the expedition and only joined the crew to please his father.
Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman, 19, were two of the five people killed when the OceanGate submersible suffered a ‘catastrophic implosion’ just 1,600ft from the bow of the Titanic.
The other victims were OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, French Navy veteran Paul-Henri (PH) Nargeolet and British billionaire Hamish Harding. They had been missing since the Titan sub vanished on Sunday, prompting a nail-biting search for the crew.
Suleman’s aunt, Azmeh Dawood, said that her nephew was “terrified” about the trip but felt compelled to please his father, who was very passionate about the 1912 shipwreck.
“I am thinking of Suleman, who is 19, in there, just perhaps gasping for breath … It’s been crippling, to be honest,” she told NBC News from her home in Amsterdam. “I feel like I’ve been caught in a really bad film, with a countdown, but you didn’t know what you’re counting down to.”
She added that she “personally found it kind of difficult to breathe thinking of them,” adding: “It’s been unlike any experience I’ve ever had.”
Azmeh Dawood herself admitted she would not have gotten on the Titan submersible “if you gave me a million dollars.”
The cause of the implosion is still under investigation, but it is believed to have been caused by a sudden change in pressure. The submersible was designed to withstand pressures up to 1,000psi, but it is possible that the pressure inside the submersible exceeded this limit, causing it to implode.
Now, Osman Waheed, a close friend of Suleman and his dad, Shahzada Dawood, hit back Azmeh Dawood’s claims about Suleman being afraid of the voyage and said he was as adventurous as his father.
“You know Shahzada and I both have two children, a boy and a girl, so my son is 20 – just a little bit older than Suleman and from that age Suleman was as adventurous as his dad was. He was always climbing trees, running around barefoot in the garden,” Mr. Waheed told TalkTV.
“If I were to describe the relationship between father and son – in fact all four of them – there’s two things that really stood out. One is the love they have for each other and the other is the shared reverence with which they treated each other.”
He added, “Shahzada and Christine would make fun of each other, the kids would make fun of the parents. But they had a really close relationship in which they could say anything to each other.”
“So there is no world I could imagine in which Suleman would express this kind of reservation and Shahzada and Christine would not listen – I just really don’t see that happening.”
The Dawood family released a statement on Twitter, saying “it is with profound grief that we announce the passing of Shahzada and Suleman Dawood.”
“Our beloved sons were aboard OceanGate’s Titan submersible that perished underwater.”
“Please continue to keep the departed souls and our family in your prayers during this difficult period of mourning.”
The family said they were grateful to the rescue teams and to their friends and family for their support.
“The immense love and support we receive continues to help us to endure this unimaginable loss.”
The deaths of Shahzada and Suleman Dawood have been a tragedy for their family and friends. They were both young and accomplished men with bright futures ahead of them. Their deaths are a reminder of the dangers of underwater exploration.
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