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Mom says son took her seat on Titan, hoped to set Rubik’s Cube record aboard the submersible

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The mother of the 19-year-old killed aboard the Titan submersible said the plan had been for her to accompany her husband on a trip to see the wreck of the Titanic at the bottom of the sea. But Suleman Dawood “really wanted to go.”

She “stepped back” from going on the trip because of her son’s enthusiasm, Christine Dawood told the BBC, and he boarded the ill-fated craft carrying a Rubik’s Cube and dreaming of setting a world record.

He and his father, Shahzada Dawood, died when the vessel imploded.

Christine Dawood told the news outlet the original plan was for her to accompany her husband on the underwater trek roughly 12,500 feet below the surface to view the Titanic. The original trip, however, was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. When plans for the underwater trip resumed, she said, Suleman took her spot.

Christine Dawood did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Times.

Also on board were Stockton Rush, founder and chief executive of OceanGate Expeditions, the company that operated the submersible; Hamish Harding, a British businessman and explorer; and Paul-Henri Nargeolet, a French maritime expert who had participated in more than 35 dives to the Titanic before.

A student at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Suleman was a fan of the Rubik’s Cube and able to solve the complex puzzle in as little as 12 seconds, according to his mom. His plan, she said, was to set a new world record by solving it near the Titanic wreck.

“He said, ‘I’m going to solve the Rubik’s Cube 3,700 metres below sea at the Titanic,’” she told the BBC.

A spokesperson for Guinness World Records confirmed to The Times it had received an application from Suleman Dawood suggesting a new record title for the deepest Rubik’s Cube solve.

The spokesperson did not say if Guinness World Records had accepted the application or if it had provided him with any guidance regarding requirements.

On the days leading up to the trip, Suleman’s paternal aunt Azmeh Dawood said her nephew was “terrified” about the trip, but he was eager to accompany his dad during the Father’s Day weekend expedition.

Her brother, Shahzada, had for years been obsessed with the Titanic and the wreck, she told NBC News. She did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Times.

Christine and her 17-year-old daughter, Alina, were on the Polar Prince, the Titan’s support vessel, when the father and son boarded the small submersible. The family hugged and joked as the two boarded the craft.

“I was really happy for them because both of them, they really wanted to do that for a very long time,” Christine Dawood told the BBC.

She and her daughter were on the ship when the submersible lost contact. They remained on the ship as search and rescue operations tried to locate the Titan.

It was about 96 hours into the search when she began to lose hope, she said.

“I said: ‘I’m preparing for the worst,’” she said.

She said the family held a funeral service for her husband and son Sunday, and she and her daughter plan to learn how to solve the Rubik’s Cube in her son’s honor.

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