British billionaire and businessman Hamish Harding is confirmed dead following the tragic loss of a submarine that imploded on its way to visit the Titanic shipwreck. Five people were on board when the submersible Titan lost communication with the surface less than two hours after it began its descent. The remains of the craft were found on the ocean floor around 1,600 feet from the bow of the famous cruise liner that sank in the North Atlantic in April 1912.
Harding traveled to the Titanic with Stockton Rush, the CEO of OceanGate, the company that owned and operated the vessel, as well as Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his teenage son, and Paul-Henri Nargeolet, a former French Navy commander.
The vessel launched on June 16 but lost communication soon afterward. US and Canadian coast guards searched the region for four days until confirming that the craft had imploded, instantly killing all passengers.
Titan, part of OceanGate, which began tours to the Titanic in 2021, was not subject to safety regulations because the Titanic is in international waters. Stockton Rush has spoken about risks to safety in the past and dismissed concerns. “If you just want to be safe, don’t get out of bed, don’t get in your car, don’t do anything,” he said in 2022. Therefore, the vehicle had never been subjected to independent safety checks and was never declared seaworthy.
James Cameron, who directed the 1997 Oscar-winning hit film “Titanic,” has visited the wreck several times and warned of its dangers. He said it is one of the most inhospitable places on earth, and if people plan to go there, they should consider that the deep ocean is another world where no help is available. “It’s not like you can call up AAA to come get you,” he said.
The Titanic set sail for New York on April 15, 1912, with just over 2,200 people on board. The ship was described as unsinkable. It sank on its maiden voyage.