[Luxus+ Magazine] Titan tragedy: curse or carelessness?

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The latest exploration of the Titanic wreck by OceanGate Expeditions’ Titan submarine ended in tragedy, with the disappearance of five passengers, including two wealthy British businessmen and the son of one of them. The question of responsibility for one too many luxury expeditions is now being raised… With a choice between a curse or foreseeable causes denounced by a whistleblower back in 2018.


In 1912, the Titanic struck an iceberg in the Atlantic Ocean and sank on her maiden voyage. Of the 2,224 passengers and crew, 1,500 perished in the disaster.



101 years later, on June 18, 2023, the Titan tourist submarine, with five people on board, dived to visit the wreck of the Titanic. But after only 1 hour 45 minutes of descent, and despite the fact that the destination – the wreck – should have been reached in two and a half hours, communication was interrupted for good. The Titan did not return to the surface in the evening as planned. Four days later, despite an intense mobilization of rescue resources, the Titan’s wreckage was spotted by a robot some 488 meters from that of the liner. No passageway had survived its probable implosion.


Curse or risk-taking?


In the wake of this tragedy, the superstitious will say that the Titanic curse has struck again. The more rational will observe that all exploration involves risks. And that failure is just as likely as success…


Since the discovery of the wreck of the Titanic in 1985, 650 kilometers off the Canadian coast, at a depth of 4,000 meters, and the release of James Cameron’s cult film in 1997, the dramatic story of this vanished liner has never ceased to fascinate.


Countless expeditions by scientists, treasure seekers and tourists alike have since taken place.


Since 2021, OceanGate Expeditions has been one of the many companies offering submarine excursions, and claims to be one of the few able to visit the wreck itself.


A $250,000 expedition


On its website, OceanGate Expeditions presented this 10-day trip, eight of which would be at sea, including the famous 10-hour maximum dive, as a “chance to get away from everyday life and discover something truly extraordinary“.


While this promise may sound strange today, it was enough to entice many a tourist. Even if the cost of such a trip – $250,000 (nearly 230,000 euros) – is not for everyone.


In late 2022, Stockton Rush, CEO of OceanGate Expeditions and one of the five people who went missing with the Titan, told CBS that his company was attracting many “Titaniacs“, fanatics of its story who “would mortgage their homes or not even bat an eyelid at the cost of this trip“.


However, the profile of the three passengers who took part in this expedition was not that of Mr. Everyman.


Two wealthy businessmen


They included wealthy entrepreneur Shahzada Dawood, 48, and his son Suleman, 19. This Pakistani-British man was vice-president of the Engro conglomerate based in Karachi, in southern Pakistan. Engro is active in several sectors, from energy and telecommunications to agriculture and petrochemicals.



The third passenger was also a wealthy British businessman, Hamish Harding, 58. The CEO of private jet sales company Action Aviation had already made headlines in the world of luxury tourism for thrill-seekers.


A Cambridge University graduate in natural sciences and chemical engineering, Harding was one of only a handful of happy few tourists to have flown into space. In 2022, Harding embarked on a ten-minute flight aboard the New Shepard rocket, the fifth commercial flight of Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin company.


Guinness World Record


Click here to read the full article on Luxus Plus Magazine.


Featured photo : © Press


Picture of Sophie Michentef
Sophie Michentef
Sophie Michentef has worked for more than 30 years in the professional press. For fifteen years, she managed the French and international editorial staff of the Journal du Textile. She now puts her press, textile, fashion, and luxury expertise at the service of newspapers, professional organizations, and companies.

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