Suleman Dawood, the 19-year-old who died in the Titan submersible alongside his father and three others, had brought a Rubik's Cube on the journey in hopes of breaking a world record, his mother has said.
The teenager had applied to Guinness World Records ahead of the mission to see the Titanic wreckage and had been "so excited" to try to solve the puzzle deep in the North Atlantic, his mother, Christine Dawood, told the British broadcaster BBC News.
His father, Shahzada Dawood, had even brought a camera along to document the record-breaking moment, she said.
The comments came as the U.S. Coast Guard launched an investigation into the implosion of the submersible, after a saga that captivated the world for days and sparked a vast search.
Christine Dawood said her son loved solving the popular puzzle and often carried a Rubik's Cube on him, shocking those around him with his ability to solve it in just 12 seconds.
“He said, ‘I’m going to solve the Rubik’s Cube 3,700 meters below sea at the Titanic," she said. Guinness World Records did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NBC News.
Christine Dawood said she had initially planned to go with her husband to view the wreck of the Titanic, but she said that trip was canceled due to the Covid pandemic.
“Then I stepped back and gave them space to set" her son up, "because he really wanted to go,” she said.
In a previous interview with NBC News, Suleman Dawood’s aunt, Azmeh Dawood, said he had told a relative he was “terrified” and didn’t feel “very up for” the voyage to the Titanic.
However, she said, he went aboard OceanGate’s 22-foot submersible because the trip fell over Father’s Day weekend and he was eager to please his dad, who was passionate about the history of the Titanic.
The father and son died along with three other men after the submersible they were in suffered what Coast Guard officials called a “catastrophic implosion” shortly after embarking on the mission to see the Titanic, 900 nautical miles east of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, on June 18.
Suleman Dawood’s love of the puzzle was also mentioned in an obituary released by the family.
The teen was remembered by colleagues at the Engro Corp., where he had completed a summer internship last year and where his father was vice chairman, “as a tall young man walking around with his beloved Rubik’s Cube and a smile on his face.”
Also killed in the implosion were Hamish Harding, a British tycoon who lived in the United Arab Emirates; the French mariner and Titanic expert “Mr. Titanic” Paul Henri “P.H.” Nargeolet; and Stockton Rush, CEO of the submersible’s operator, OceanGate Expeditions.
The Coast Guard said Sunday it had launched a marine board of investigation. The goal will be to determine what caused the implosion and the deaths of the five men who were on board, the chief investigator, Capt. Jason Neubauer, said at a news conference. The board can also make recommendations to pursue civil or criminal sanctions to the proper authorities, he said.
The investigation was in its evidence collection phase, which includes salvaging debris and working with Canadian authorities in the port of St. John’s, Newfoundland. Once the investigation is completed, the marine board will issue a report to the Coast Guard with its conclusions and recommendations.