The teenager who died on the Titanic tourist submarine was “terrified” before the submersible tragically imploded, his aunt has claimed.
Suleman Dawood, 19, was pronounced dead along with four other crewmembers shortly after debris was found in the depths of the Atlantic Ocean.
The Strathclyde University student was onboard the submersible with his 48-year-old father Shahzada.
Azmeh Dawood, Shahzada’s older sister, revealed her nephew “wasn’t very up for it” and felt “terrified”.
An image of a Titan submarine used for such expeditions
She also claimed he felt compelled to please his Titanic-obsessed father.
Azmeh added that the 19-year-old ended up boarding the Titan as the trip fell over Father’s Day weekend.
She told NBC News: “I am thinking of Suleman, who is 19, in there, just perhaps gasping for breath… It's been crippling, to be honest.”
Azmeh added: “I feel disbelief. It's an unreal situation.”
She continued: “I feel like I've been caught in a really bad film, with a countdown, but you didn't know what you're counting down to.”
Suleman was also a student at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow
Shahzada and Suleman, who lived in Surbiton in South West London, were heirs to the Dawood business dynasty.
The family are among the richest people in Pakistan.
Suleman was also a student at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow.
Before the 19-year-old’s death, Strathclyde's Vice Chancellor Professor Sir Jim McDonald said: “I write to you with a heavy heart to share the news that one of our students, Suleman Dawood, is a passenger on board the submersible that is missing in the North Atlantic.
“We are deeply concerned about Suleman, his father and the others involved in this incident. I know you will join me in sending our thoughts and prayers to their families and loved ones.”
Rear Admiral John MaugerReuters
Suleman and his father were pronounced dead after US Coast Guard spokesman Rear Admiral John Mauger said debris found near the Titanic was “consistent with the catastrophic loss of the pressure chamber”.
Speaking at a press conference, he said: "Upon this determination, we immediately notified the families.
“On behalf of the United States Coast Guard and the entire unified command, I offer my deepest condolences to the families.
“I can only imagine what this has been like for them.
"And I hope that this discovery provides some solace during this difficult time."
Responding to the announcement, the Dawood Foundation said: "It is with profound grief that we announce the passing of Shahzada Dawood and Suleman Dawood.
“Our beloved sons were aboard OceanGate’s Titan submersible that perished underwater.
“Please continue to keep the departed souls and our family in your prayers during this difficult period of mourning."