Nargeolet, a 77-year-old retired French navy commander, was the director of underwater research for a media and exhibition company whose affiliate, RMS Titanic, is the exclusive steward of the wreck.

Nargeolet, nicknamed P.H., had “an unparalleled knowledge” of the wreckage, said Brandon Whited, trustee of the Titanic International Society, which traveled to the site with Nargeolet in the 1990s. Nargeolet could identify pieces of the ship’s stern, which is in shambles on the ocean floor, “like no one else can,” Whited said.

“He truly knows the ship and has almost an unbelievable passion for it,” Whited said.

Nargeolet was born in Chamonix, France, and also lived across Africa for 13 years with his family. He served as a submarine pilot, ship captain and deep diver during his two decades in the French navy, according to his LinkedIn profile.

While working at the French marine science research institute IFREMER, Nargeolet ventured down to the Titanic for the first time in 1987 — two years after the wreckage was found. He told HarperCollins last year that he had intended to go in 1986, but the plan didn’t pan out.

Nargeolet described descending in a small submarine and silence falling when the passengers arrived at the wreck to see shining bronze anchors and chains, buffed clean by the sea, the print on them saying they were made in Glasgow still clear.

“We were extremely happy, finally, to start to dive to the Titanic,” he told HarperCollins in French. “And we absolutely didn’t know at the time that I would return as often as I have been able to do.”

Since then, Nargeolet led “several expeditions” to the site, completed 37 submersible dives — including with OceanGate — and overseen the recovery of 5,000 artifacts, according to a biography on his company’s website.

Last year, Nargeolet published a book on the ship in French: “Dans les profondeurs du Titanic,” or “In the Depths of the Titanic.”

“He knew that area so well. That’s what’s so tragic,” said Michael Findlay, former president of the Titanic International Society and a friend of Nargeolet. “He’s made more dives to that location than anyone. And the fact that he’s among those that are missing, it’s almost too impossible to comprehend.”


Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *