The Pakistani tycoon, who went to Titanic aboard a submersible that disappeared on Sunday, had previously endured a flight so horrifying he feared for his life, his wife revealed in a harrowing account of the incident five years ago.
Prominent businessman Shahzada Dawood, 48, disappeared into the abyss of the Atlantic with his 19-year-old son Suleman and three other passengers who were on board the submersible this weekend to view the wreck of the RMS Titanic.
The underwater expedition, organized by Oceangate Expeditions, was heading south just an hour and 45 minutes into the mission when the submersible’s escort lost all contact with the vessel.
Despite relentless rescue efforts and some reported signs of life near where the sub first went missing, some fear the worst for the five because of the ship’s limited oxygen supply — which has not been reported in the three days since it sank heard more has souls on board.
But years before Shahzada disappeared off the coast of Newfoundland, the Dawood family was apparently grappling with another nightmare – one played out in the skies.
In a blog post on her coaching company’s website, Shahzada’s wife, Christine, recalled surviving a nightmarish flight with her husband that left them “absolutely terrified” and described the incident as “the incident that changed everything.” ‘ changed her life – forever.
“I should have known when they canceled our flight and put us on the next one. We should have picked up the sign, gone home and enjoyed a long and hearty breakfast. But we didn’t do it,” she said in the Jan. 22, 2019 post.
Christine then describes a hellish account of the plane’s “deep fall,” during which the passengers “…let out a simultaneous scream that turned to a whimper and then silence.”
In her account, this was the first of several violent falls that left her “feeling like a seed in a big punching bag, or like a boxer being clearly hit — being hit from every direction.”
“I clutched my armrests as if that would make a difference,” she added. “I needed something to hold on to, something stable in a rickety metal tube thousands of feet off the ground.”
“Do till death…”
The ordeal was so horrific that her husband Shahzada — although he was a seasoned traveler and adventurer, his social media posts implied — contemplated his own death during the flight, she said.
“I have often read that in such situations people start praying or that their life flies by like a movie. “My husband later told me he was thinking about all the opportunities he missed and how much he still wanted to teach our kids,” she said.
Christine went on to tell of several other violent crashes of the plane, with passengers crying, praying and cursing. “I was scared like never before in my life. I wasn’t even able to wipe away the tears that were streaming down my face or move my head to look around,” she said.
Then a “quiet moment” with her husband.
“As the plane turned, my side lifted and I had to look down to the left. My husband stood facing me, our eyes closed and our hands clasped. No words were needed. He was just as scared as I was, and yet we were together. ‘Until death…’ No, don’t go there!”
Ultimately, according to the report, the plane landed safely. But the experience left Christine feeling “as if a noose had been wrapped tightly around her neck.” “The personal, uncomfortable and overwhelming” ordeal inspired her to pursue a major professional focus in psychology and coaching, among other changes in her life, she said.
Although it’s not clear from the post when the plane crash happened (Christine didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from The Daily Beast), news that the family was hit by another horrific ordeal was confirmed this week when the family said so confirmed Shahzada and his teenage son were on the Titan submersible.
Although the Dawood family – which includes Shahzada, Christine and their two children, Suleman and Alina – are based in London, they reportedly spent time in Canada in the weeks leading up to the dive tour. In addition to being an avid traveler, Shahzada is also Vice Chairman of Engro Corporation, a large Pakistani conglomerate. His son Suleman is a student.
“The family is well taken care of,” the Dawood family said in a statement to the Associated Press, adding that they “pray to Allah for the safe return of their family members.”