Who Is Hamish Harding? British Billionaire Explorer Who Once Took Buzz Aldrin to the South Pole Among Missing Titanic Tour Submersible Carrying 5 People

Harding serves as a trustee of the Explorers Club, an organization dedicated to promoting scientific exploration and discovery.

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One of the individuals on board the missing submarine near the Titanic wreckage is a British adventurer. Hamish Harding, aged 58, is believed to be on board the OceanGate Expeditions vessel that can accommodate five people. The submarine was reported as overdue on Sunday evening, with its last known location around 435 miles south of St. John's, Newfoundland.

Harding, who serves as the chairman of Dubai-based Action Aviations, embarked on the OceanGate Expeditions submersible on Sunday morning as part of a $250,000 tourist venture, offering tourists the opportunity to see the historical remains of the ill-fated White Star ocean liner, the Titanic, situated off the coast of Canada.

Missing Underwater

Hamish Harding
Hamish Harding Twitter

Brian Szasz, his stepson, wrote in a since-deleted Facebook post that his father "has gone missing on (the) submarine." Submersible operator OceanGate said its "entire focus" is on the crew's return.

Additionally, it stated that it was "exploring and mobilizing all options to bring the crew back safely".

"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," Harding wrote in an Instagram before leaving for the underwater trip.

According to David Concannon, an advisor for OceanGate, it is estimated that the submarine has utilized approximately one-third of its 96-hour oxygen supply by Monday afternoon. Efforts to deploy a remotely-operated vehicle to the location, which is roughly 12,500 feet below the surface of the Atlantic, will be initiated as soon as possible.

Hamish Harding
Hamish Harding Twitter

The submarine was reported as overdue at around 9:13 pm. on Sunday, located approximately 435 miles away from St. Johns. This information was provided by the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The U.S. Coast Guard in Boston is leading the rescue operations, taking charge of the efforts. They are being supported by the Canadian Coast Guard as well as military aircraft involved in the mission.

Harding acknowledged the challenging and perilous nature of the expedition, highlighting the adverse conditions in eastern Canada that greatly complicated the exploration of the Titanic wreckage before his departure.

Titanic submersible
The Titanic-bound submersible has oxygen to keep alive the five aboard for 96 hours Twitter

He mentioned that the severe winter conditions in Newfoundland, described as the worst in 40 years, have made it highly probable that this particular mission will be the sole manned attempt to reach the Titanic in 2023.

Braveheart Still Missing

Harding is well-known for his ambitious travel pursuits, boasting an impressive resume. Among his notable accomplishments are a record-setting journey around the world, an expedition to Antarctica alongside Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, and being a passenger on the fifth human flight of Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket in the previous year.

Hamish Harding
Hamish Harding Twitter

Harding's travel endeavors have garnered him recognition globally.

As a student, he left Cambridge with a degree in natural sciences and chemical engineering.

In addition to being an accomplished aviator, Harding holds an airline transport pilot's license and holds business jet type ratings, including the Gulfstream G650. He is also an avid skydiver and was honored with an induction into the Living Legends of Aviation in 2022.

Moreover, Harding serves as a trustee of the Explorers Club, an organization dedicated to promoting scientific exploration and discovery.

Also, Harding has previously worked with the Antarctic VIP tourism company, White Desert. He played a significant role in introducing the first scheduled business jet service to Antarctica, expanding accessibility to the region for business travelers.

Titanic submersible
The Titanic submersible may be at a depth where it is not humanly possible to retrieve it Twitter

Harding currently holds three Guinness World Records, which acknowledge his remarkable achievements as an adventurer. In 2019, he received recognition for completing the fastest circumnavigation of the Earth, covering both the North and South Poles in the journey.

In 2021, Harding accomplished two notable feats in the realm of deep-sea exploration. Along with Victor Vescovo, Harding embarked on a deep-sea expedition, using a two-person submarine to explore the Challenger Deep, the deepest part of the Mariana Trench.

This location, reaching a depth of approximately 36,000 feet, represents the lowest point in the Earth's oceans.

During the 13-hour underwater expedition, Harding and Victor Vescovo accomplished two remarkable feats. Firstly, they set a record for the longest duration spent at full ocean depth, with a remarkable four hours and 15 minutes spent exploring the depths. Additionally, they also achieved the feat of covering the longest distance ever traveled at full ocean depth, covering a remarkable 4.6 kilometers during their mission.

This article was first published on June 20, 2023