Mother of 19-year-old killed in Titanic tragedy swapped places with her son


The mother of the teenage boy who was killed, along with his father and three others on the Titan submersible, has revealed how it should have been her on the vessel instead of her son that went on the fatal mission to see the Titanic.

Suleman Dawood, who was 19, joined his dad Shahzada, along with British billionaire Hamish Harding, OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush and French maritime expert Paul-Henri Nargeolet on the tragic voyage to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.

They went on the deep-dive journey to capture the glory of the famous wreck, around two miles under the surface of the waves, but never returned after their small craft imploded, killing everybody on board.

After initially sparking concern when the mothership lost communications with Titan, a huge search-and-rescue mission was then undertaken to try and find the stranded craft, which turned into a race against time to locate them before their oxygen supply ran out.

The deadline passed after 96 hours, before debris from the submersible was found by underwater craft sent to the bottom of the sea, with the US Coastguard then confirming what had happened to the vessel and all five people on board.

Christine Dawood, mother of Suleman and wife of Shahzada, has told the BBC that she should have been aboard the craft, but let her excited son take her place instead.

“It was supposed to be Shahzada and I going down and then I stepped back and gave my place to Suleman as he really wanted to go,” she said.

“They were both excited. I was really happy for them because both of them had really wanted to do it for a long, long time.”

Christine was on Titan’s mothership, Polar Prince, and saw them climb into the craft before embarking on their once-in-a-lifetime mission.

“We just hugged and joked, because Shahzada was so excited to go down, he was like a little child, it was a lifelong dream for him,” she said.

But the dream turned into a terrifying nightmare and Christine, while still trying to come to terms with the tragedy, revealed her thoughts after they had gone missing.

“The sentence ‘we lost comm’, I think that will be a sentence I never want to hear again in my life,” she admitted. “We lost comm, as in we lost communications.

“I was on board the vessel, I was on the ship. I think I lost hope when we passed the 96 hours mark. That’s when I lost hope.

“I sent a message to my family on shore. I said ‘I am preparing for the worst’. But my daughter, she didn’t lose hope until the call with the coastguard, when they basically informed us that they’d found debris.

“Is there any such thing as disclosure? I don’t know.”

She took a long pause, clearly getting emotional before adding: “He started so many amazing projects, he helped so many people and Alina and I want to continue that legacy.”

And on her son Suleman, she added: “He would not go anywhere without his Rubik’s cube. He used to teach himself through YouTube how to solve it and he was really fast at it. His best was 12 seconds or something like that.

“I miss them. I really, really miss them.”

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