Shahzada Dawood, a British Pakistani businessman who was among the five people aboard a submersible journeying down to view the Titanic, was presumed to have died when the vessel experienced what the authorities believe was a “catastrophic implosion” during its descent to the ocean floor. He was 48. His 19-year-old son, Suleman, who was with him on the Titan submersible, also is believed to have perished.
“On behalf of the United States Coast Guard and the entire unified command, I offer my deepest condolences to the families,” Rear Admiral John W. Mauger said in a news conference on Thursday.
Mr. Dawood was the vice chairman of Engro Corporation, a business conglomerate headquartered in Pakistan in the southern port city of Karachi that 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 focused on renewable energy and technology, according to a statement from his family.
Mr. Dawood studied law as an undergraduate student at Buckingham University in Britain and later received a master’s in global textile marketing from Philadelphia University, which is now part of Thomas Jefferson University. In 2012, he was selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.
His son, Suleman, was a business student at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow and had just completed his first year, according to a spokesman for the school. 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 greatest supporters and cherished a shared passion for adventure and exploration of all the world had to offer them,” according to a statement from the Dawood family. “This unwavering curiosity built the foundation for a close friendship between the two.”
The pair’s yearslong passion for science and discovery led them to embark on the expedition to the wreck of the Titanic, according to friends and family.
“Traveling, science, are part of his DNA,” said Ahsen Uddin Syed, a friend of the elder Mr. Dawood who used to work with him at the Engro Corporation. “He is an explorer.”
A lover of Star Trek and Star Wars, Mr. Dawood was also fond of nature and often traveled to faraway places, sharing pictures of his adventures, Mr. Sayed said.
His Instagram profile is like a memory book of his love of travel and nature; it is blanketed with photos of birds, flowers and landscapes, including a sunset in the Kalahari Desert, the ice sheet in Greenland, penguins in the Shetlands and a tiny bird in London with the caption “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.”
“Don’t adventures ever have an end?” Mr. Dawood wrote in a Facebook post last year from a trip in Iceland, quoting Bilbo Baggins from “The Fellowship of the Ring.” “I suppose not. Someone else always has to carry on the story.”
Khalid Mansoor, another former colleague of Mr. Dawood, said that when the two worked together, Mr. Dawood was a passionate champion for the environment. He was also a trustee at the SETI Institute, an organization devoted to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.
In his role at Engro, Mr. Dawood advocated “a culture of learning, sustainability and diversity,” according to the company statement. He was also involved in his family’s charitable ventures, including the Engro Foundation, which supports small-scale farmers, and the Dawood Foundation, an education-focused nonprofit.
“Shahzada’s and Suleman’s absence will be felt deeply by all those who had the privilege of knowing this pair,” his family’s statement read.
Mr. Dawood leaves behind one daughter, Alina, and his wife, Christine.
Salman Masood contributed reporting.