Suleman Dawood, the Titan’s youngest passenger, reportedly had reservations about the trip in the days leading up to the excursion to the bottom of the sea, according to his aunt.
But he eventually went with his father, Pakistani billionaire Shahzada Dawood, because the trip coincided with Father’s Day and he wanted to please him.
Shahzada’s older sister, Azmeh Dawood, told NBC News that her nephew “wasn’t very up for it” and was “terrified” of the journey to the Titanic.
The 19-year-old opted to join the expedition to appease his father, who had been “absolutely obsessed” with the Titanic since he was a child.
Azhmeh remembered her younger brother purchasing tickets for OceanGate’s latest trip after viewing film after film about the disaster and visiting museums about the ship.
“I’m thinking of Suleman, who is 19, in there, possibly gasping for air… To be honest, it’s been crippling,” she remarked.
Azmeh expressed “disbelief” after the US Coast Guard confirmed the Titan likely suffered a “catastrophic implosion.”
“It’s an unreal situation.”
Azmeh was hooked to her television in the days leading up to the discovery of the debris field.
“I feel like I’m in a bad movie, with a countdown, but you don’t know what you’re counting down to,” she remarked. “It’s been difficult for me to breathe when I think of them.”
The Dawoods have now urged everyone to “keep the departed souls and our family in your prayers.” They have also expressed their appreciation for the search crews’ “untiring efforts.”
Our hearts go out to the Dawood family and all of the victims of the heinous deep sea implosion.