Footage of 'Mr Titanic' days before he vanished on stricken sub

Footage of ‘Mr Titanic’ days before he vanished on stricken sub: Video shows French adventurer PH Nargolet – who has visited the wreck 37 times – waving cheerily as he departs on previous OceanGate expedition

  • Paul-Henry Nargeolet waves as he lounges in a boat days before he disappeared

Footage has emerged of a French adventurer dubbed ‘Mr Titanic’ – just days before he went missing along with four others on a sub headed to explore the wreck. 

Mariner Paul-Henry Nargeolet, 77, is a veteran of 37 trips to the Titanic wreck and was part of the five-strong team on the Titan. 

Now, a clip has emerged showing him in Atlantic Ocean near the site of the wreck just days before he went missing.    

The video, shared by videographer Abbi Jackson, sees Nargeolet waving as he lounges in a boat. It was uploaded with the caption ‘what a legend’.  

Nargeolet is widely considered to be a ‘leading authority’ on the sunken cruiser, leading several expeditions to the Titanic wreckage site off the coast of Newfoundland and even supervising the recovery of thousands of artifacts — including the 20-ton section of the Titanic’s hull.

The video, shared by videographer Abby Jackson, sees Paul-Henry Nargeolet, 77, waving as he lounges in a boat. It was uploaded with the caption ‘what a legend’

Based on his expertise with these deep dives, Nargeolet told the Irish Examiner in 2019: ‘If you are 11 meters or 11 kilometers down, if something bad happens, the result is the same.

‘When you’re in very deep water, you’re dead before you realize that something is happening, so it’s just not a problem.’ 

Nargeolet was born in Chamonix, France and sent more than two decades in the French Navy, rising to the rank of commander.

He retired in 1986 and joined the French Institute for Research and Exploitation of Sea, leading deep sea submersibles.

In that position, Nargeolet participated in the Five Deeps expedition, exploring the deepest parts of all five of Earth’s oceans and even breaking the record for the deepest submersible dive — at 10,928 meters, or 35,853 feet, below sea level.

By 1987 he led the first expedition to the Titanic, two years after its discovery.

He later said that when he came across the wreckage site for the first time, he and his two crew members were stunned into silence for 10 minutes as ‘we were at the foredeck, the most beautiful part where you saw the anchor chains, bronze winches still polished by the water and sedimentation… you could read perfectly they were made in Glasgow.’

From there, Nargeolet continued to lead dives to the Titanic, helping to map the site and chart the course of deterioration.

‘At the beginning we were scared to recover artifacts owned by passengers, but then we realized we could learn a lot about the passengers,’ he once said, according to the Telegraph. 

‘We are resurfacing the history of these families, and for me, that’s a good thing.’

When asked why the Titanic fascinated him so much more than 100 years since it crashed into an iceberg and sank, he said: ‘The word Titanic is magic in my opinion because it always sparks a reaction.

‘There are those who are interested in the construction of the boat. There are those who are interested by the billionaires of the time on board, as they were the stars of the time, some are interested in the immigrants looking for a new life in North America… everyone can find an interest in the Titanic.

‘Once you’ve put your head in the Titanic, it’s hard to take it out.’ 

Nargeolet now resides in Connecticut, while his adult children live in Cork, Ireland. 

John Paschal, 31, Nargeolet’s stepson who has a Connecticut address, said just a few words about the search, declined to say anything personal at this time, not wanting to sound like he was speaking of him in the past tense.

‘I don’t want to speak in terms of active and passive with him. I just want the search and rescue process to play out at this point. We hope for the best possible result for everyone who’s on board. We hope they return safely and soundly, and we’re keeping everyone in our thoughts and prayers. We appreciate the efforts made by everyone so far in the search and rescue effort.’

Also on board the submersible is billionaire Hamish Harding, CEO of Action Aviation in Dubai. He excitedly posted to social media about starting the trip on Sunday

Shahzada Dawood, 48, a board member of the Prince’s Trust charity, and his son Sulaiman Dawood, 19, (pictured together) are also on board the missing submarine

Nargeolet is now said to be running out of air on a small submersible with British billionaire adventurer Hamish Harding and a British father and son duo.

The vessel began its dive on Sunday morning, and will run out of oxygen on Thursday morning eastern time, if it is still intact and has not imploded due to a fault.  

Inside the 22-foot long vessel, there are no seats and only one toilet — a small black box —with a black curtain drawn across for privacy. All passengers are barefoot and must sit on the floor. 

There is no ‘door’ to get in and out of the vessel.

Instead, the passengers are bolted in from the outside before their journey begins with 17 bolts, which begins with the Titan being launched from a recovery platform, which has tanks used to sink and resurface the vessel.

It was also revealed yesterday that tourists who pay $250,000 to descend almost 13,000 feet below sea level to view the wreck of the Titanic must sign a waiver saying they accept the submersible is not approved by any regulatory body.

But in a May 2021 court filing, OceanGate said the Titan had an ‘unparalleled safety feature’ that assesses the integrity of the hull throughout every dive.

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