Wife and mother of Titan victims speaks out for first time

“He wouldn’t go anywhere without his Rubik’s cube,” said Christine Dawood of her 19-year-old son Saluman. He even brought a Rubik’s cube down with him in the hopes of breaking a world record underwater. His mother says he was fast at solving the puzzle.

“I think his best was 12 seconds or something like that,” Dawood recalls.

Saluman was one of five people killed in the submersible implosion last week. Another, his father, Shahzada.

Christine says she was supposed to accompany her husband on this dive but ultimately gave up her seat so her son could go. This comes a week after Saluman’s aunt publicly stated the teen did not want to go because he was scared but his mother insists, he was “so excited.”

Sitting on the expedition vessel in contact with the Titan were Christine, her 17-year-old daughter, and others with a connection to those on the submersible. One hour and forty-five minutes into its two hours descent Christine said she began living a nightmare, “the sentence, ‘we lost comm’ I think that will be a sentence I never want to hear in life again.”

All hope wasn’t lost then. Christine said she had hope until that 96-hour mark passed. After that, her daughter lost hope after the Coast Guard informed families that debris had been found.

Dawood and her daughter haven’t found closure and don’t know if they ever will.

As more investigations are launched, questions asked, and lives remembered many who interacted with those on that submersible are left with pictures and memories to look back on. Especially people around the Port of Everett.

OceanGate’s office was located across the street from the Marina and the shipyard was shared by many.

KIRO 7 spoke to a Snohomish County man who worked in the same shipyard the Titan was and he shared some of the thoughts he had then with us now.

“I put a lot of things on the seabed, but not my body, not me or a person, so getting latched in there it gives you some interesting thoughts,” said Mark Jacobson, President of WaveguideNetworks.com.

In May 2021 Mark was working on his boat and when he returned to the dock, he saw something interesting. It was OceanGate’s Titan submersible, and it was there doing sea trials.

Fascinated by its unusual design, Mark started taking some photos and that’s when “some guy showed up …and we started talking it was 4-5 guys and they were all excited really interesting project they were really open with their information, and they seemed really, really excited.”

Mark’s background is in marine installation. His family business developed underwater trenching machines that buried cable in the sea floor. When news broke about OceanGate’s submersible, Mark said he didn’t put two and two together until photos were released. Even then, Mark searched for the photos to confirm that the missing vessel in the news was in fact the same vessel he had just seen a couple of years prior.

Now his memories and photos, like others with the same are something he’ll look back on a little differently.