Hamish Harding is an aviation company executive who is on board a missing tourist sub that was exploring the Titanic shipwreck, according to a now-deleted Facebook post from his stepson. Harding has a wife named Linda Harding, two sons, and two stepchildren.
On June 19, 2023, OceanGate Expeditions, which ran the expedition, confirmed the sub was missing, writing on Instagram, “We are exploring and mobilizing all options to bring the crew back safely.” The U.S. Coast Guard confirmed on June 20, 2023, that underwater noises were detected during the search.”
“Our entire focus is on the crewmembers in the submersible and their families,” the OceanGate statement continued. “We are deeply thankful for the extensive assistance we have received from several government agencies and deep sea companies in our efforts to reestablish contact with the submersible. We are working toward the safe return of the crewmembers.”
The Coast Guard and OceanGate say the five men died when the submersible faced catastrophic failure. “We now believe that our CEO Stockton Rush, Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman Dawood, Hamish Harding, and Paul-Henri Nargeolet, have sadly been lost,” the company said in a statement to CNN.
Rear Admiral John Mauger said in a news conference on June 22, 2023, that a remote-operated vehicle discovered the tail cone of the Titan lying 1,600 feet from the bow of the Titanic on the sea floor. “The degree is consistent with the catastrophic loss of the pressure chamber,” Mauger said.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Stepson of Harmish Harding Confirmed Harding, Who Is Married to Wife Linda Harding, Was on the Sub Before Deleting the Post
According to Sky News, Brian Szaz, Harding’s stepson, posted on Facebook: “My stepdad Hamish Harding has gone missing on a submarine pray for a successful recovery.”
Sky News wrote that Szaz also posted, “Thoughts and prayers for my stepfather Hamish Harding as his Submarine has gone missing exploring Titanic. Search and rescue mission is underway.”
Szaz, a recording/mixing engineer, later wrote on Facebook, “For privacy my mom asked me to delete all related posts thanks for the support.”
The U.S. Coast Guard confirmed in a press release, “The Coast Guard is searching for five persons after the Canadian research vessel Polar Prince lost contact with their submersible during a dive, approximately 900 miles east of Cape Cod, Sunday morning.”
The release notes, “A Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina, C-130 Hercules aircraft, as well as a Canadian P8 aircraft equipped with underwater sonar capability, are currently searching for the missing submersible.”
David Concannon, an adviser to the company, told The Associated Press on Monday afternoon that Oceangate lost contact with the sub Sunday morning, and it had a 96-hour oxygen supply.
“Now 32 hours since sub left surface,” said Concannon to the AP.
OceanGate Expeditions had posted information on the Titanic expedition on social media. “The wreck of the Titanic lies about 400 miles off the coast of Newfoundland. Without any cell towers in the middle of the ocean, we are relying on Starlink to provide the communications we require throughout this year’s 2023 Titanic Expedition,” read one Instagram post. The company had a web page devoted to the expedition, but it is unavailable.
2. Hamish Harding’s Teenage Son, Giles Harding, Has Gone on Other Adventures With Him
Harding also has a teenage son, Giles Harding, who chronicles his own explorations on his Instagram page. According to One More Orbit, Harding’s wife is named Linda Harding, and they also have a son named Rory. Harding also has a stepdaughter named Lauren, that article reported, describing Hamish Harding as “an experienced jet pilot and aircraft broker, as chairman of his company Action Aviation.”
On Instagram, Giles Harding calls himself a “teen explorer.”
Esquire Magazine Middle East wrote of one of Hamish Harding’s adventures, “UAE resident Hamish Harding is headed to the depths of the Challenger Deep at the Mariana Trench on March 5 to explore places that no man has been before.”
Gulf News described that escapade this way in 2021:
Hamish Harding, chairman of Action Aviation, will go inside a purpose-built DSV Limiting Factor, a two-person deep-submergence vehicle, in support of UAE’s commitment to exploration and science by searching for evidence of human pollution at the deepest point on Earth and looking for new species living nearly 11km below sea level.
Giles Harding accompanied his dad on that journey, according to his Instagram page. In 2021, Giles Harding shared a photo with his dad and wrote, “So grateful I was there when they landed back and very proud of the crew and my dad @actionaviationchairman of their achievement.”
That same year, Giles shared a photo showing him with his dad in a cockpit and wrote, “On July 9, 2019 my dad was part of an incredible crew that embarked on a journey to attempt to break the world record for the fastest circumnavigation of the earth via both poles.”
3. Hamish Harding Wrote on Instagram That He Had Joined the ‘RMS TITANIC Mission’ as a Mission Specialist, Saying a ‘Weather Window Has Just Opened Up’
Two days before the sub disappeared, Harding discussed the venture on Instagram.
“I am proud to finally announce that I joined @oceangateexped for their RMS TITANIC Mission as a mission specialist on the sub going down to the Titanic,” he wrote.
“Due to the worst winter in Newfoundland in 40 years, this mission is likely to be the first and only manned mission to the Titanic in 2023. A weather window has just opened up and we are going to attempt a dive tomorrow,” he wrote.
“We started steaming from St. Johns, Newfoundland, Canada yesterday and are planning to start dive operations around 4am tomorrow morning. Until then we have a lot of preparations and briefings to do.”
He continued: “The team on the sub has a couple of legendary explorers, some of which have done over 30 dives to the RMS Titanic since the 1980s including PH Nargeolet. More expedition updates to follow IF the weather holds!”
Sky News reported that the submersible “is capable of diving 13,120” feet and has 96 hours worth of “life support,” adding that the Titanic shipwreck is 12,500 feet beneath the surface; it cost $250,000 to join the expedition, Sky News reported. The submarine vanished on Sunday, June 18, 2023, according to a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard, and it carried five people, who were not named by the agency.
According to Sky News, the sub is supposed to ping every 15 minutes but pings have not been heard for seven hours. According to Sky News, the rescue mission is compounded by the fact that journeying to the depths where the Titanic lies takes specialized underwater vehicles.
USA Today reported that the sub disappeared “435 miles south of St. John’s, Newfoundland.” According to The Sun, it’s believed two of the others on board the missing submersible are Paul-Henry Nargeolet, 73, or Premier Exhibitions, RMS Titanic, and Stockton Rush, CEO and Founder of OceanGate Inc. According to CNN, Shahzada Dawood, who comes from a prominent Pakistani business family, and his son, Sulaiman Dawood, are the final two passengers.
4. Hamish Harding Has Touted His Many Adventures, Including Traveling to Space
On May 15, 2022, Harding wrote about his adventures on Facebook, writing, “From circumnavigating the Earth in 2019 to diving in deepest point of the seabed – the Challenger Deep – In 2021 to.. Spaceflight on May the 20th, 2022!”
Harding flew to space with Blue Origin, the space exploration company founded by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. “Blue Origin today announced the crew flying on its NS-21 mission will include: investor and NS-19 Astronaut Evan Dick; electrical engineer and former NASA test lead Katya Echazarreta; business jet pilot and Action Aviation Chairman Hamish Harding; civil production engineer Victor Correa Hespanha; adventurer and Dream Variation Ventures co-founder Jaison Robinson; and explorer and co-founder of private equity firm Insight Equity Victor Vescovo, Commander, USN (Ret.),” a post on Blue Origin’s website read.
One More Orbit reported that “Hamish’s many accomplishments include several aviation world records as well as travelling to the South Pole twice (first with Buzz Aldrin, and later with his son Giles, respectively the oldest and youngest persons ever to reach the South Pole).”
5. Hamish Harding, Whose Net Worth Is at Least a Billion Dollars, Holds 3 Guinness World Records
Although Harding’s net worth is not clear, he is a billionaire, according to The Scotsman.
According to the website for the Guinness Book of World Records, Harding holds the world record with Victor Vescovo for the “longest time spent traversing the deepest part of the ocean on a single dive,” at 4 hours 15 minutes.
The pair also hold a second record, according to the website: “The farthest distance travelled along the deepest part of the ocean is 4.634 km (2.88 miles) by Hamish Harding (UK) and Victor Vescovo (USA), who traversed the sea floor of Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench during a 4-hour 15-minute dive in the Deep-Submergence Vehicle (DSV) Limiting Factor on 5 March 2021.”
Harding holds a third record, the website says: “The fastest circumnavigation of Earth via both the geographic poles by aeroplane is 46 hrs 40 mins 22 secs, achieved by Captain Hamish Harding (UK), Captain Jacob Bech (Denmark), Captain Jeremy Ascough (South Africa), Captain Yevgen Vasylenko (Ukraine) and Qatar Executive (Qatar) at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, USA on 11 July 2019.”