Shahzada Dawood, a British Pakistani businessman who was among five people aboard a submersible descending to view the Titanic, was presumed dead when the ship suffered what authorities say was a ‘catastrophic implosion’ during its descent to the bottom of the ocean. He was 48 years old. His 19-year-old son, Suleman, who was with him on the Titan submersible, is also believed to have perished.
“On behalf of the U.S. Coast Guard and the entire Unified Command, I offer my deepest condolences to the families,” Rear Admiral John W. Mauger said Thursday at a press conference.
Mr Dawood was vice chairman of Engro Corporation, a business conglomerate headquartered in Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi, which is involved in agriculture, energy and telecommunications. His family is known as one of the wealthiest business families in the country. Mr. Dawood’s work has focused on renewable energy and technology, according to a statement from his family.
Mr Dawood studied law as an undergraduate at the University of Buckingham in Britain and went on to earn a Masters in Global Textile Marketing from the University of Philadelphia, now part of the University Thomas Jefferson. In 2012, he was selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.
Her son, Suleman, was a business student at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow and had just completed his first year, according to a school spokesperson. Like his father, he was a fan of science fiction books and also enjoyed solving Rubik’s Cubes and playing volleyball, according to a statement from Engro.
“The relationship between Shahzada and Suleman was a joy to behold; they were each other’s biggest supporters and cherished a shared passion for adventure and exploring all that the world had to offer,” according to a statement from the Dawood family. “This unwavering curiosity laid the foundation for a close friendship between the two.”
The couple’s lifelong passion for science and discovery led them to embark on the expedition to the wreckage of the Titanic, according to friends and family.
“Travel, science is in his DNA,” said Ahsen Uddin Syed, a friend of the elder Mr Dawood who worked with him at Engro Corporation. “He’s an explorer.”
A Star Trek and Star Wars lover, Mr. Dawood also loved nature and often traveled to faraway places, sharing photos of his adventures, Mr. Sayed said.
Her Instagram Profile is like a memory book of his love of travel and nature; it’s covered in photos of birds, flowers and landscapes, including a sunset in the Kalahari desert, the ice cap in Greenland, penguins in Shetland and a little bird in London with the caption “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy”.
“Do adventures ever have an end? Mr Dawood wrote in a Facebook post last year during a trip to Iceland, quoting Bilbo Baggins from ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’. “I guess not. Someone else always has to continue the story.
Khalid Mansoor, another former colleague of Mr. Dawood, said that when the two worked together, Mr. Dawood was a passionate advocate for the environment. He was also a trustee of the SETI Institute, an organization devoted to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.
In his role at Engro, Mr Dawood has championed “a culture of learning, sustainability and diversity”, according to the company statement. He has also been involved in his family’s charitable ventures, including the Engro Foundation, which supports small-scale farmers, and the Dawood Foundation, a non-profit organization focused on education.
“The absence of Shahzada and Suleman will be deeply felt by all who had the privilege of knowing this couple,” the statement from his family read.
Mr. Dawood leaves behind a daughter, Alina, and his wife, Christine.
Salman Massoud contributed report.