Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son Sulaiman Dawood are currently onboard a missing OceanGate tourist submersible vessel that was carrying five people to see the wreck of the Titanic at the bottom of the North Atlantic Ocean.
The Dawood family has released the following statement:
“As of now, contact has been lost with their submersible craft and there is limited information available. A rescue effort that is being jointly led by multiple government agencies and deep-sea companies is underway to reestablish contact with the submersible and bring them back safely,” read the statement.
“We are very grateful for the concern being shown by our colleagues and friends and would like to request everyone to pray for their safety while granting the family privacy at this time. The family is well looked after and are praying to Allah for the safe return of their family members,” it added.
Shahzada Dawood is a trustee of the SETI Institute in California and vice chairman of Dawood Hercules Corporation, part of the Dawood Group.
The OceanGate Titan craft submerged Sunday morning, and its support vessel lost contact with it about an hour and 45 minutes later, The Independent has said.
OceanGate Expeditions is a company that offers eight-day missions to see the Titanic debris at a cost of $250,000 per person. The organisation confirmed its submarine was lost at sea with crew members on board, and that it is exploring all options to rescue the five people onboard. The company’s chief executive is also believed to be on the craft.
Officials confirmed government agencies, the US and Canadian navies and commercial deep-sea firms are helping in the rescue operation, as reported by the BBC.
The craft they were on board dives with a four day emergency supply of oxygen. Addressing a news conference, Rear Adm John Mauger of the US Coast Guard said there is somewhere between 70 and the full 96 hours of oxygen available at this point
British billionaire explorer Hamish Harding and renowned French diver Paul-Henri Nargeolet are also among the passengers onboard.