Hamish Harding
Dubai-based British expat and Chairman of Action Aviation, Captain Hamish Harding Image Credit: AP

Dubai: Family and friends of Dubai-based British expat billionaire Hamish Harding have said they are “united in grief” with other families who have lost their dear ones on Titan, the Oceangate-operated submersible that was on its way to the Titanic wreckage site.

Harding, who would have turned 59 tomorrow (June 24), and four others - Shahzada Dawood, 48, and his son Suleman Dawood, 19, Paul-Henri Nargeolet, 77 and Stockton Rush, 61 - were declared dead in the Titan sub last night after what US Coast Guard officials said may have been a “catastrophic implosion” near the Titanic site. The five-member team had lost contact with their support ship on Sunday morning, less than two hours after they began the descent.

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Issuing a statement on behalf of Harding’s family, Mark Butler, Managing Director of Action Aviation, Harding’s aircraft sales company, said, “Today, we are united in grief with other familes who have also lost their loved ones on the Titan submersible.”

“Hamish Harding was a loving husband to his wife and a dedicated father to his two sons, whom he loved deeply. To his team in Action Aviation, he was a guide and inspiration, a support and ‘living legend’.

“He was one of a kind and we adored him. He was a passionate explorer - whatever the terrain - who lived his life for his family, his business and his next adventure. What he achieved in his lifetime was truly remarkable and if we can take any small consolation in this tragedy, it’s that we lost him doing what he loved,” said Butler.

“He will leave a gap in our lives that will never be filled,” he said.

“We know that Hamish would have been immensely proud to see how nations, experts, industry colleagues and friends came together for the search and we extend our heartfelt thanks for all their efforts,” he said.

Butler also requested privacy at “this incredibly difficult time” on behalf of the Harding family and Action Aviation.