Hamish Harding, onboard missing Titanic sub, had a big role in bringing cheetahs to India

Sushim Mukul
Sushim MukulJun 22, 2023 | 11:56

Hamish Harding, onboard missing Titanic sub, had a big role in bringing cheetahs to India

The Cheetahs were placed in special cages to transport them. (Photo: Hemish Harding on Twitter)

One among the five voyagers onboard the missing OceanGate Titanic Expedition submersible, Captain Hamish Harding, played a vital role in the translocation of African cheetahs to India in September 2022. 

The Dubai-based British billionaire, extreme adventure enthusiast and the chairman of aviation consultancy Action Aviation, Hamish Harding, along with four other adventurers lost contact during an expedition to explore the wreckage of the RMS Titanic on Sunday, June 18.


Cheetah translocation to India

  • Captain Harding's Action Aviation company negotiated the transport of eight cheetahs from Namibia to India's Kuno National Park.
  • After receiving a call for help from the Namibian Cheetah Conservation Fund, Hamish rushed to arrange the flight to Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh for the big cats.
  • The cheetahs were flown in on a modified Boeing 747-400 aircraft owned by Aquiline Int'l Corp Ltd.
  • The tiger-faced B747-400 freighter took off from UAE's Fujairah International Airport for Namibia, then directly onwards to the Indian Air Force base in Gwalior.
  • From Gwalior, the cheetahs were taken to the Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh on IAF helicopters.
  • Harding told Dubai Eye Radio, "I wouldn't miss a flight like that. The eight cheetahs were semi-tranquilised as they had to be released by the Prime Minister, they can't just look dizzy."
  • It was made sure by Hamish and his team that the aircraft was fully equipped with spare parts like tyres, as they had to make the journey from Namibia to Madhya Pradesh non-stop.
  • Captain Harding personally accompanied the cheetahs, the three males and five females, to Kuno National Park and was involved in the welcoming ceremony with the international cheetah team and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • Captain Harding, who is also a member of New York City-based The Explorers Club (an international society promoting scientific exploration), carried the club's flag on the flight to India, highlighting the historical significance of the cheetah relocation mission. 

India's cheetah reintroduction project

  • As a result of excessive hunting and substantial habitat loss, cheetahs, the fastest animal on the planet, went extinct from the Indian grasslands in 1952.
  • The project under the Government of India attempts to relocate African Cheetahs from Namibia and South Africa to the Kuno National Park over a period of five years.
  • The first batch of eight cheetahs, accompanied by Harding, were welcomed by the Indian Prime Minister last year.

Hamish's extreme love for extreme adventure

  • Harding is known to be an adventurer and boundary-pusher, with space exploration, an earth circumnavigation record, Antarctic expeditions, etc.
  • Harding's passion for aviation and space exploration began at a young age, inspired by the Apollo moon landing.
  • Hamish has done it all, from exploring the depths of the Mariana Trench to the vastness of space. With his accomplishments and numerous records, he has had a remarkable journey as an adventure seeker.

Known for his adventurous spirit, Captain Harding embarked on an expedition to explore the underwater remains of the Titanic.

However, the submersible, approximately the size of a minivan, lost contact with its mothership, the Polar Prince, on June 18, roughly 1 hour 45 minutes after beginning the dive.

The search for Captain Harding and the four other individuals is still underway, although chances of their survival is pretty slim. International rescue teams have been facing challenges such as freezing temperatures, adverse weather conditions, and logistical difficulties in a race against time to find the five people onboard the missing sub.

Last updated: June 22, 2023 | 18:29
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