Titan passenger Suleman Dawood took Rubik's cube on board sub to break world record

Suleman Dawood, the 19-year-old who died on the Titanic sub, took a Rubik’s cube with him in the hope he would break a world record, his mother has revealed.

The first-year student at Strathclyde University was with his father, Shahzada Dawood, on the trip to see the century-old wreck, which ended in the deaths of all five people on board.

His mother Christine Dawood, who was waiting on the sub’s support vessel the Polar Prince with her 17-year-old daughter Alina during the rescue effort, said he was “so excited” about trying to solve the puzzle 3,700 metres below the ocean’s surface.

She told the BBC the teenager had applied to Guinness World Records and his father had brought a camera with him to capture the moment.

Ms Dawood, who had planned to go on the trip herself but gave up her space to her son as he wanted to go, said her husband was “so excited he was like a child” at the prospect of seeing the Titanic wreckage.

“I was really happy for them because both of them, they really wanted to do that for a very long time,” she said.

She said her son loved the famous square puzzle so much that he carried it with him everywhere and dazzled onlookers by solving it in 12 seconds.

She told the broadcaster: “He said, ‘I’m going to solve the Rubik’s Cube 3,700 meters below sea at the Titanic’.”

The family boarded the Polar Prince on Father’s Day hoping for the trip of a lifetime.

After hearing communication with the sub had been lost, Ms Dawood and her daughter, who remained on the Polar Prince support vessel throughout, initially held on to hope.

She said: “We all thought they are just going to come up so that shock was delayed by about 10 hours or so.

“By the time they were supposed to be up again, there was a time … when they were supposed to be up on the surface again and when that time passed the real shock, not shock but the worry, and the not so good feelings started.

“We had loads of hope. I think that was the only thing that got us through it because we were hoping and … we talked about things that pilots can do like dropping weights. There were so many actions people on the sub can do in order to surface.

Titanic tourist submersible goes missing – in pictures

titan passenger suleman dawood took rubik's cube on board sub to break world record

The pilot of a Royal Canadian Air Force maritime surveillance aircraft flies over the Atlantic during the search for the missing OceanGate submersible. Reuters

titan passenger suleman dawood took rubik's cube on board sub to break world record

A Royal Canadian Air Force serviceman drops sonar buoys from a surveillance aircraft. Reuters

titan passenger suleman dawood took rubik's cube on board sub to break world record

Capt Jamie Frederick of the US coastguard speaks to reporters about the search for the submersible, during a press conference in Boston, Massachusetts. AFP

titan passenger suleman dawood took rubik's cube on board sub to break world record

Carl Hartsfield, director and senior programme manager Oceanographic Systems Laboratory, faces reporters as Royal Navy Lt Cdr Rich Kantharia, left, and Capt Frederick look on during the news conference. AP

titan passenger suleman dawood took rubik's cube on board sub to break world record

Inside the submersible vessel Titan on a previous dive. The vessel is used to visit the wreckage site of the Titanic. PA

titan passenger suleman dawood took rubik's cube on board sub to break world record

Titan went missing on a dive to the Titanic wreck site this week. PA

titan passenger suleman dawood took rubik's cube on board sub to break world record

Businessman Shahzada Dawood, the vice-chairman of Karachi conglomerate Engro, and his son Suleman are on board the missing sub. AFP

titan passenger suleman dawood took rubik's cube on board sub to break world record

Paul-Henri Nargeolet, French explorer and director of a company that owns the rights to the Titanic wreck, is on board the submarine. Reuters

titan passenger suleman dawood took rubik's cube on board sub to break world record

The Titan submersible was taking five people to view the wreck of the Titanic when it went missing. AP

titan passenger suleman dawood took rubik's cube on board sub to break world record

UAE-based British space explorer Hamish Harding posted this image of himself in Canada a day before the expedition. Photo: Instagram

titan passenger suleman dawood took rubik's cube on board sub to break world record

Mr Harding, a businessman, receives his Blue Origin astronaut pin after a successful flight to space in June 2022. AP

titan passenger suleman dawood took rubik's cube on board sub to break world record

The submersible usually carries a pilot, three paying guests and a ‘content expert’. It has enough oxygen for up to 96 hours. AP

titan passenger suleman dawood took rubik's cube on board sub to break world record

The Titanic sank on April 15, 1912, during its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York, killing more than 1,500 of the 2,200 passengers on board. Getty

titan passenger suleman dawood took rubik's cube on board sub to break world record

The wreck, which was located in 1985, sits 3,800 metres at the bottom of the Atlantic, about 600km off Newfoundland. AFP

“We were constantly looking at the surface. There was so many things we would go through where we would think ‘it’s just slow right now, it’s slow right now’. But there was a lot of hope.”

She said she “lost hope” when 96 hours had passed since her husband and son boarded the submersible, which indicated they had run out of oxygen.

That is when she sent a message to her family saying she was preparing for the worst, she said.

Her daughter held out a bit longer, she said.

“She didn’t lose hope until the call with Coast Guard. When they basically informed us that they found debris.”

Ms Dawood said she was “not legally able to comment” on questions related to the safety of the craft.

And she would not answer questions about claims by an aunt of Suleman that he was “terrified” and did not want to go on the trip but went as he was eager to please his dad on father’s day.

The BBC reporter said Ms Dawood made it very clear the 19-year-old wanted to go.

The family returned to St John’s in Newfoundland, Canada, on Saturday, and on Sunday held a funeral prayer for Shahzada and Suleman.

Ms Dawood said she and her daughter had vowed to try to learn to finish the Rubik’s Cube in Suleman’s honour, and she intends to continue the work of her husband, a businessman and philanthropist.

She said: “He was involved in so many things, he helped so many people and I think Alina and I really want to continue that legacy and give him that platform when his work has continued and it’s quite important for my daughter as well.

“Alina and I said we are going learn how to solve the Rubik’s cube. That’s going to be a challenge for us because we are really bad at it but we are going to learn it.”

She added: “I miss them. I really, really miss them.”

The pair were among five people who died instantly due to the catastrophic implosion of the vessel.

The other victims included Stockton Rush, 61, the chief executive of OceanGate; Paul-Henry Nargeolet, 77, a pre-eminent diver considered the world’s leading expert on the Titanic wreck and its debris field; and UAE-based British billionaire, Hamish Harding, 58.

Mr Harding’s sons paid tribute to him, describing him as a “loving father and family man”.

In a statement issued by Mr Harding’s company, Action Aviation, one son said: “My dad was a tenacious, hard-working businessman – but most importantly he was the best father I could have ever asked for.

“He inspired me more than anyone will ever know, taught me things I’ll never forget, and he meant everything to me.

“Anyone who ever met my dad will praise his humorous personality, his sheer work ethic and his constant generosity.

“My life will be a success if I’m even half the man he is. My dad is gone but I will never forget him.”

Mr Harding’s second son, who was also not named in the statement, said he was a “loving father, family man and a determined and tireless businessman”.

He said: “In all of these areas, he constantly sought to be the best man he could be and did nothing halfway.

“Constantly full of wisdom and life advice to bestow, he made my brother and I into the people we are today.

“He was an energetic and charismatic man who by the sheer weight of his personality lifted up and supported everyone around him.

“His tragic loss will be mourned not only by myself and my family, but everyone who had the pleasure to meet him.

“The world is so much less without his larger-than-life presence and his optimistic spirit.”

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