Billionaire Hamish Harding's Stepson Details "F--king Nightmare" Situation Amid Titanic Sub Search

Amid the search for the Titanic submersible, of which billionaire Hamish Harding is confirmed to be onboard, his stepson Brian Szasz shared his thoughts on the "f--king nightmare" situation.

By Kisha Forde Jun 22, 2023 1:46 PMTags
Watch: Billionaire's Stepson Details "Nightmare" Titanic Sub Search

UPDATE: U.S. Coast Guard officials confirmed June 22 that debris of the Titan were found on the ocean floor less than half a mile away from the Titanic wreckage. The operating company OceanGate believes all five explorers on board have died. Read more on the tragedy here.

As the search for the missing Titanic submersible continues, Brian Szasz is speaking out about his family's ordeal.
The stepson of billionaire Hamish Harding, who is confirmed to be a part of the five-person crew aboard the sea-vessel that disappeared in the North Atlantic Ocean June 18, is detailing the difficulty surrounding the recovery mission.

"This whole situation is a f--king nightmare though, everything about it, especially what Hamish is going through down there, it's just f--king God awful," he said in a June 21 Instagram Story video. "I really appreciate the love and support. I haven't slept in days, it's not about me, obviously just too worried about my mom, the situation."

Brian's commentary comes as he faces backlash for attending a Blink-182 concert amid the ordeal, including from rapper Cardi B, who publicly slammed the 37-year-old.

"So, I'm not rocking out or whatever they're trying to accuse me of doing, but it just f--king makes the situation that much worse," he continued. "To have outside forces that are using their power for complete f--king evil, my God. Thanks again, have a good night."

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The search for the submersible and its five passengers was launched after it disappeared during a mission to explore the wreckage of the RMS Titanic. The U.S. Coast Guard shared an update amid the massive search June 21, revealing that an aircraft was redirected to a specific part of the search area after it "detected underwater noises."

OceanGate Expeditions via AP

"As a result, ROV operations were relocated in an attempt to explore the origin of the noises," their June 21 statement read. "Those ROV searches have yielded negative results but continue."

During a briefing, officials shared that there was an estimated 40 hours of oxygen left in the submarine as of June 20. The sub's breathing air supply is estimated to run out June 22.

To learn more about the passengers onboard the Titan submersible, keep reading…

Shahzada Dawood & Son Suleman Dawood

On June 18, 2023, a deep-sea submersible Titan, operated by the U.S.-based company OceanGate Expeditions and carrying five people on a voyage to the wreck of the Titanic, was declared missing. Following a five-day search, the U.S. Coast Guard announced at a June 22 press conference that the vessel suffered a "catastrophic implosion" that killed all five passengers on board.

Pakistani-born businessman Shahzada Dawood and his 19-year-old son Suleman Dawood, both British citizens, were also among the victims.

Their family is one of the wealthiest in Pakistan, with Shahzada Dawood serving as the vice chairman of Engro Corporation, per The New York Times. His son was studying at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland.

Shahzada's sister Azmeh Dawood told NBC News that Suleman had expressed reluctance about going on the voyage, informing a relative that he "wasn't very up for it" and felt "terrified" about the trip to explore the wreckage of the Titanic, but ultimately went to please his father, a Titanic fan, for Father's Day.

The Dawood Foundation mourned their deaths in a statement to the website, saying, "It is with profound grief that we announce the passing of Shahzada and Suleman Dawood. Our beloved sons were aboard OceanGagte's Titan submersible that perished underwater. Please continue to keep the departed souls and our family in your prayers during this difficult period of mourning."

Stockton Rush

OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush was the pilot of the Titan. The entrepreneur—who founded the research company in 2009 in Everett, Wash.—had long been interested in exploration. Rush, 61, previously said he dreamed of becoming the first person on Mars and once said that he'd "like to be remembered as an innovator."

In addition to leading voyages to see the remnants of the Titanic, Rush had another surprising connection to the historic 1912 event: His wife Wendy Rush is the great-great-granddaughter of a couple who died on the Titanic, Ida and Isidor Straus.

Hamish Harding

British billionaire Hamish Harding confirmed he was a part of the mission in a June 17 Instagram post, a day before the submersible went into the water and disappeared.

"I am proud to finally announce that I joined @oceangateexped for their RMS TITANIC Mission as a mission specialist on the sub going down to the Titanic," he wrote. "Due to the worst winter in Newfoundland in 40 years, this mission is likely to be the first and only manned mission to the Titanic in 2023. A weather window has just opened up and we are going to attempt a dive tomorrow."

Harding—the chairman of aircraft company Action Aviation—said the group had started steaming from St. Johns, Newfoundland, Canada and was planning to start dive operations around 4 a.m. on June 18. The 58-year-old added, "Until then we have a lot of preparations and briefings to do."

His past explorations included traveling to the deepest part of the ocean in the Mariana Trench, telling Gulf News in 2021, "It was an incredibly hostile environment. To travel to parts of the Challenger Deep where no human had ever been before was truly remarkable."

The Dubai-based businessman also circumnavigated the Earth by plane with the One More Orbit project and, last year, took a trip to space on Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin New Shepard rocket. Harding shared his love for adventure with his son Giles, described as a "teen explorer" on his Instagram.

Paul-Henri Nargeolet

As for the fifth member, a representative for French explorer Paul-Henri Nargeolet told the New York Times that he was a passenger on the Titan, with Harding also referencing him on Instagram as a member of the team. 

The Times described him as a maritime expert who was previously part of the French Navy. The 71-year-old was a bonafide Titanic specialist and has traveled to the wreckage 35 times before. Nargeolet served as the director of RMS Titanic, Inc., a company that researches, salvages and displays artifacts from the famed ship, per the outlet. 

Alongside fellow passenger Hamish Harding, he was a member of The Explorers Club, founded in 1904.

The Titan

As Harding noted in his post, the submersible—named Titan—was a part of an OceanGate Expeditions tour that explores the wreckage of the RMS Titanic, which infamously sank in 1912.

The company expressed its sympathies to the families of the victims. "These men were true explorers who shared a distinct spirit of adventure, and a deep passion for exploring and protecting the world's oceans," OceanGate said in a statement. "Our hearts are with these five souls and every member of their families during this tragic time. We grieve the loss of life and joy they brought to everyone they knew."

This story was updated June 22, 2023 at 6:43 p.m. PT with details of a U.S. Coast Guard press conference.

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