If you were terrified by imagining being down there before… The five victims of the Titanic submersible disaster spent their final moments in pitch black, freezing cold darkness.
The Titan’s tragic implosion has been the talk of the world lately, with new information coming out every day on what went wrong and how the five passengers — OceanGate CEO Stockon Rush, Brit billionaire Hamish Harding, French explorer Paul-Henri Nargeolet, and father-son duo Shahzada and Suleman Dawood — met their fate. In a new interview with the New York Times, though, we’re getting a better idea from Shahzada’s widow Christine Dawood about how the passengers likely spent their last moments alive.
Christine said she and her 17-year-old daughter Alina were on the ship known as the Polar Prince that carried the submersible out to the location it was meant to sink down to the wreckage from. The mother recalled how on Father’s Day they arrived at the mothership of the operation in Newfoundland, and they were given a debrief on the plans for the expedition. During the debrief, she seemed impressed with how knowledgable everyone was — no crew member gave any inkling that something may go wrong:
“It was like a well-oiled operation — you could see they had done this before many times.”
She revealed how the crew advised all passengers to wear thick hats and socks due to the quickly-dropping temperature of the ocean and condensation that would likely pool at the floor, as well as eat a “low-residue” diet with no caffeine before the launch. There’s no bathroom in the submersible, so it’s important to use the bottle and camp toilet they brought on board as infrequently as possible.
Christine went on to explain how they were told the sub’s lights would be off until they reached the Titanic wreckage so they could conserve battery, meaning their descent was nearly pitch black. They were told they had a chance at seeing some bioluminescent deep sea creatures, though.
The trip was set to last about four hours, so the CEO told the passengers to load their favorite songs onto the sub so they could listen to music during the slow descent, although he did make a note that no country music was allowed. Sadly, they would only get about an hour and forty-five minutes into their trip before the implosion happened — instantly killing all five passengers. Their final moments were likely spent having no idea what was coming, in the darkest dark, listening to their favorite music.
You can get an idea of what it looks like inside the dark cabin of the submersible (below):
Here’s what it looks like with some lights on — presumably because they knew filming was being done. We imagine it was even darker on that day…
But this image still shows just how dark and cramped it is in the submersible! It’s unreal to imagine it being totally black in there, and only hearing music from the speakers. So eerie!
Christine recalled how the entire time leading up to the trip, Shahzada and Suleman were “excited” for the expedition. She also recalled how they barely made it in time, due to their flight to Newfoundland being canceled, and then their back-up flight being delayed:
“We were actually quite worried, like, ‘Oh, my God, what if they cancel that flight as well?’ In hindsight, obviously, I wish they did.”
The Dawood matriarch went on to describe her husband’s joy for the upcoming trip, regardless of any setbacks or extra tasks — according to her they had to stay in bunk beds on the Polar Prince and endure TWELVE hours of meetings every day, along with being offered to watch James Cameron‘s Titanic multiple times — ironic considering what the director thought of the expedition’s safety standards:
“He was like a vibrating toddler … [Shahzada said] ‘Oh, my God, this is so cool’ … He was lapping everything up. He had this big glow on his face talking about all this nerdy stuff.”
Stockton also told stories of the deep sea to entertain the tourists. Many of the meetings featured the ins and outs of how the engine worked, as well as how the sub was put together, according to Christine:
“That engineering side, we just had no idea. I mean, you sit in a plane without knowing how the engine works.”
We bet Rush didn’t tell them he’d “broken some rules” in how he built the damn thing. Recalling what Shahzada said the day before the expedition that would ultimately end in his untimely death, Christine added:
“It was a good morning. [Shahzada repeated] ‘I’m diving tomorrow! I’m diving tomorrow!’”
So, so sad.
Our hearts continue to be with Christine and the families of the victims.
[Image via MEGA/WENN]