Shahzada and Suleman Dawood. Image Credit: Social media

Islamabad:  The family of British-Pakistani father and son, Shahzada and Suleman Dawood, is mourning the tragic loss of their lives. They were among the five people who died on the OceanGate Titan submersible that suffered a catastrophic loss and likely imploded, officials said.

“It is with profound grief that we announce the passing of Shahzada and Suleman Dawood,” said a statement from the Dawood Foundation, a family-run education nonprofit. The family requested people “to keep the departed souls” and the family in prayers during this difficult period of mourning.

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The family’s worst fears came true after four agonising days and desperate wait for updates from the International rescue mission.

The Dawood family said they were “truly grateful to all those involved in the rescue operations” whose “untiring efforts were a source of strength for us during this time.”

They also thanked their friends, family, colleagues, and all those around the world who sent immense love and support during the last days. “We extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of the other passengers on the Titan submersible,” reads the statement signed by Hussain and Kulsum Dawood, Shahzada’s parents. Hussain Dawood is one of Pakistan’s richest men.

“The relationship between Shahzada and Suleman was a joy to behold; they were each other’s greatest supporters and cherished a shared passion for adventure and exploration of all the world had to offer them,” the statement said. “This unwavering curiosity built the foundation for a close friendship between the two.”

Shahzada’s deep fascination with Titanic

Shahzadaʼs older sister Azmeh Dawood was “absolutely heartbroken” to hear the tragic news about her brother and his son. “I feel disbelief. It’s an unreal situation,” NBC News quoted her as saying.

The sister recalled that Shahzada was “absolutely obsessed” with the Titanic since his early years. During their childhood in Pakistan, the Dawood siblings would often watch the captivating 1958 film ‘A Night to Remember’ - a British drama depicting the tragic fate of the legendary ocean liner. However, Azmeh said that not even “a million dollars” would have convinced her to board Titan.

Suleman felt 'terrified'

Azmeh Dawood  also told NBC News that Suleman informed a relative that he "wasn't very up for it" and felt "terrified" about the trip to explore the wreckage of the Titanic.

But the 19-year-old ended up going because the trip fell over Father's Day weekend and he was eager to please his dad,  according to Azmeh.

Some friends said their yearslong passion for science and discovery led the pair to embark on the expedition to the wreck of the Titanic.

“Travelling, science, are part of his DNA,” Ahsen Uddin Syed, a friend of the elder Dawood who used to work with him at the Engro Corporation, was quoted as saying. “He is an explorer.”

A lover of Star Trek and Star Wars, Dawood was also fond of nature and often travelled to faraway places, sharing pictures of his adventures, Sayed said.

Dawood family is known as one of Pakistan’s wealthiest business families. Shahzada leaves behind his wife, Christine, and a daughter, Alina.

More than 111 years after it sank, the Titanic remains one of the worldʼs most famous shipwrecks. Titanic struck an iceberg and sank during its maiden voyage in 1912, killing more than 1,500 people aboard.

On Friday, the Pakistan government offered its condolences to the family. “Our deepest condolences to the Dawood family and the family of other passengers on the sad news about the fate of Titanic submersible in the North Atlantic,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. “We appreciate the multinational efforts over the last several days in search of the vessel.”

Who are Shahzada and Suleman Dawood?

Shahzada Dawood, 48, and Suleman were part of the Dawood group, one of the largest conglomerates in Pakistan.

Shahzada Dawood was the vice-chairman of Engro Corporation, a Karachi-headquartered business conglomerate involved in agriculture, energy, petrochemicals and telecommunication.

Engro is a subsidiary of Dawood Hercules Corporation. Engro said in a statement that it was mourning the loss of Shahzada and Suleman with heavy hearts and great sadness. “We extend our heartfelt condolences to the family, colleagues, friends, and all those around the world who grieve this unthinkable loss,” the company said.

Suleman was a business student at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow and had just completed his first year, according to a spokesman for the school.