What we know about Hamish Harding and the four other people on board

They set out hoping for a rare glimpse of a fabled wreck, but now they find themselves at the center of their own dramatic tale at sea.

A British billionaire, a prominent Pakistani businessman and his son are among five people fighting to save themselves aboard a submersible in the North Atlantic where air supplies are rapidly dwindling. The other two people on board have yet to be identified.

The ship disappeared on Sunday during a dive to explore the Titanic wreck, part of a tour that offered explorers a chance to see the site up close for a hefty sum. Dubbed Titan, the submersible was only on its third voyage since OceanGate Expeditions offered it in 2021.

Follow NBC News live coverage for updates on the missing submersible.

British adventurer Hamish Harding

British billionaire adventurer Hamish Harding was among the five people on board the ship.

In a photo taken ahead of Sunday’s dive, Harding was seen looking down from a ship in a uniform with a badge that read “Titanic Expedition Crew.”

Harding’s company, Action Aviation, states on its website that it was founded in 2004 and operates as a global business aviation distributor.

The U.S. Coast Guard said late Monday, June 19, that its search for a missing submersible near the Titanic wreck was closed for today, a National Guard unit and the company operating the five-passenger underwater mission However, the search would continue surface overnight.
Hamish Harding before the start of the expedition on Sunday morning. Dirty Dozen Productions / AFP – Getty Images

A post on Sunday on the billionaire’s Instagram account said he was joining the OceanGate expedition “as a mission specialist” — typically a one-time crew member who pays a fee to take part in the promotion.

“Due to the worst Newfoundland winter in 40 years, this mission will likely be the first and only manned mission to Titanic in 2023,” Harding said in his post. He said a “weather window” had just opened and the team would attempt a dive the next day.

“Until then, we still have a lot of preparations and briefings to do,” he said.

Harding, who lives in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, holds three Guinness World Records, including the longest record held by a manned vessel at full sea depth. In March 2021, he and marine researcher Victor Vescovo dived to the deepest depths of the Mariana Trench. He flew into space on Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket in June 2022, according to the Associated Press.

Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman

Prominent Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman have also been identified as aboard the ship by the family and one of Dawood’s companies.

“We are very grateful for the concerns of our colleagues and friends and would like to ask everyone to pray for their safety while allowing the family privacy at this time. The family is well taken care of and prays to Allah for the safe return of their family members,” the family said.

“We at Engro continue to pray for their speedy and safe return and will share any updates as they arrive,” said Engro, the company where Dawood serves as the company’s executive vice president.

The father and son, who are both British citizens, are part of one of Pakistan’s most prominent families, according to the Associated Press. Her company invests in agriculture, industry and healthcare, while Shahzada Dawood also sits on the board of trustees of the California-based SETI Institute, which searches for extraterrestrial information, according to the news outlet.

Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood was aboard the OceanGate submersible along with his son Suleman, her family said in a statement.
Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood.Facebook


The other two people on board the ship have not yet been publicly identified.

In his Instagram post, Harding wrote that the team on the sub had “a couple of legendary explorers,” including “PH Nargeolet.”

NBC News could not immediately confirm whether French diver Paul Henry Nargeolet was on board the ship. John Nathaniel Paschall, a stepson of Nargeolet, declined to confirm whether his stepfather was on board the submarine.

Nargeolet, known by some as “Mr. Titanic,” is the director of underwater exploration at the Experiential Media Group, which, according to the company’s website, hosts “museum-quality exhibitions” around the world. According to a biography of the diver on the website, he is considered one of the leading experts on the wreckage of the Titanic.

Nargeolet has led several expeditions to the wreck of the Titanic, conducting at least 35 dives in a submersible and overseeing the recovery of at least 5,000 artifacts, including the recovery of the “big part” – a 20-ton section of Titanic’s hull to biography.

What we know about the 5 people on board the missing Titanic tour submersible
French diving expert Paul-Henry Nargeolet next to a model of the Titanic at an expo in Paris in 2013.Joel Saget/AFP via Getty Images file

Also known by his first initials ‘PH’, Nargeolet had a 22-year career in the French Navy before retiring in 1986 and joining the French Institute of Marine Research and Exploitation. According to his biography, during his time at IFREMER he led the first salvage expedition to the Titanic in 1987.

Years later, in 2010, he “served as expedition leader on the most technologically advanced dive to Titanic and directed the first comprehensive survey chart of the ship,” the biography reads.

In a 2019 interview with the Irish Examiner, Nargeolet was asked if he had ever been afraid to dive to reach the wreck.

“If you’re 11m or 11km deep and something bad happens, the result is the same,” said the former French naval captain. “If you’re in very deep water, you’re dead before you know something’s happening, so that’s just not a problem,” he said.

US Coast Guard officials said they “brought every available means” to locate the missing submarine and its crew.

In a statement, OceanGate Expeditions said that “the entire focus is on the submersible crew members and their families.”

“We are deeply grateful for the extensive support we have received from multiple government agencies and deepwater companies in our efforts to re-establish contact with the submersible,” the company said.

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