Record-breaking explorer Hamish Harding dies in Titan submersible tragedy

By Vicki Newman
hamish harding split image

Guinness World Records is devastated to learn of the tragic death of record-breaking explorer Captain Hamish Harding.

The famed UK adventurer was one of five lives lost in the Titan submersible catastrophe.

He was 58 years old.

Hamish was on board the OceanGate vessel alongside the company’s founder and CEO Stockton Rush, diver Paul-Henri Nargeolet, businessman Shahzada Dawood and his teenage son Suleman.

Mike Marcotte (l) an Executive from Guiness World Records hands a Certificate to Akbar Al Baker (c), CEO Qatar Airways and Captain Hamish Harding (r)

The vessel dove 12,500 ft (3.8 km; 2.3 m) down in the North Atlantic Ocean to see the wreckage of the Titanic, which sank during its maiden voyage in 1912.

It lost contact during the paid-for tourist expedition and a major international search was launched.

Tragically, it has since been confirmed that all five men on board have lost their lives.

Hamish was a member of The Explorers Club who achieved many amazing feats in his life.

hamish harding delivers a speech

He travelled into space, visited the South Pole several times and explored the ocean.

His adventures earned him three Guinness World Records titles, including the fastest circumnavigation via both Poles by aeroplane.

He set that record in 2019 in a time of 46 hrs 40 mins 22 secs alongside Captain Jacob Bech (Denmark), Captain Jeremy Ascough (South Africa), Captain Yevgen Vasylenko (Ukraine) and Qatar Executive at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, USA.

Guinness World Records Editor-in-Chief Craig Glenday said in tribute: “It's been an awful week, waiting to hear the outcome of the search for the Titan. I was lucky enough to get to know Hamish over the last few years, and to spend time with him and his family, so it was heart-breaking to learn of his fate and that of his crewmates. 

"Hamish had the kind of pioneering spirit that we here at Guinness World Records are privileged to recognize and celebrate in the pages of our book. It sounds like a cliché to say it but he lived life to the full, and was well aware of the risks involved at the extreme edge of adventuring. It's the least we can do to honour him in the GWR archives. My thoughts now are with his boys and the rest of the family."

hamish harding and others celebrate their record

Richard Garriott de Cayeux, President of The Explorers Club, wrote in a statement on Twitter: “Our hearts are broken. I am so sorry to have to share this tragic news.

“Our friends and fellow Explorers Club members Hamish Harding and Paul-Henri Nargeolet are lost, along with Stockton Rush, Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman, while trying to reach the RMS Titanic.”

He added: “Hamish Harding is a dear friend to me personally and to The Explorers Club. He holds several world records and has continued to push dragons off maps both in person and through supporting expeditions and worthy causes.

hamish harding second from left

“Paul-Henri was elected to the Club in 2001 and was one of the foremost experts on submersible expeditions to the Titanic. They were both drawn to explore, like so many of us, and did so in the name of meaningful science for the betterment of mankind.

“They pushed themselves in their entrepreneurial pursuits as they did in exploration.”

Guinness World Records offers the deepest of condolences to the family, friends and loved ones of those lost in this tragedy.