Titanic expert on missing submersible works with metro Atlanta company

Paul-Henri Nargeolet, known as ‘Mr. Titanic,’ is among five passengers on missing submersible

Credit: JOEL SAGET/AFP via Getty Images

Credit: JOEL SAGET/AFP via Getty Images

A renowned Titanic expert aboard the small submersible that went missing in the Atlantic Ocean has ties to metro Atlanta, where he works as an expert with a Gwinnett County exhibition company.

Paul-Henri Nargeolet, a former French navy officer known as “Mr. Titanic,” is one of the five passengers inside the underwater vehicle that was reported missing Sunday amid a voyage about 12,500 feet underwater to the ocean floor to visit the wreckage of the world’s most famous sunken ship. The incident sparked an international rescue effort to find the submersible named Titan as its oxygen supply dwindles. Officials have said Titan could run out of breathable air by approximately 6 a.m. Eastern time Thursday.

Nargeolet, 77, is the director of underwater research for Experiential Media Group, which is based in Peachtree Corners. He’s completed 37 dives to the Titanic’s wreckage and has supervised the recovery of 5,000 artifacts, including a 20-ton section of the Titanic’s hull that is now on display in Las Vegas, according to his biography on the company’s website. His LinkedIn page lists him as an expert with Experiential Media Group’s subsidiary RMS Titanic Inc. since 2007.

Experiential Media did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Multiple media outlets report that Nargeolet lives in South Kent, Connecticut.

Experiential Media is the parent company of RMS Titanic Inc., the Titanic’s sole legal salvager, meaning it’s the only entity able to recover artifacts from the ship that struck an iceberg and sank in 1912, killing all but about 700 of the roughly 2,200 passengers and crew.

Nargeolet spoke with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2021, discussing an auction of artifacts recovered from the steamship Carpathia, the ship that rescued survivors of the wreck of the Titanic.

Sunk in 1918 by a German torpedo, several years after the sinking of the Titanic, the Carpathia lay at a much shallower depth of 500 feet. Yet even at that depth, the danger of decompression sickness is severe, and divers must breathe a mixture of helium and oxygen to avoid it.

Nargeolet was a commander in the French navy for 25 years and worked with U.S. Navy Seals in 1974 to remove mines from the Suez Canal.

Of salvage work, he said, “it’s dangerous, but we are well trained for that. I think it’s more dangerous to cross an avenue in New York City.”

Experiential Media, formerly known as Premier Exhibitions before going through bankruptcy in 2016, curates and manages exhibitions across the world, including “Bodies... the Exhibition” and “Titanic.”

The Titan expedition was led by a different firm, OceanGate Expeditions, a Washington-based company that has been making yearly voyages to the Titanic’s wreckage since 2021. The U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, Canadian Coast Guard and OceanGate Expeditions are searching a massive swatch of sea twice the size of Connecticut about 900 miles east of Boston for the 22,000-pound submersible.

Authorities have not officially released the names of the vessel’s five passengers, but they have been identified by multiple media outlets through family members and OceanGate representatives. The other passengers include the vessel’s pilot, OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush, British billionaire Hamish Harding, British-Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his 19-year-old son Suleman.

Nargelot and Rush were on the Titan’s maiden voyage in June 2021 to the Titanic wreckage, which is more than two miles underwater.

“This recent dive in Titan to the Titanic wreck site is one of the most memorable dives I have ever done,” Nargeolet said in a news release at the time.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


- Crews are searching a massive swath of sea about 900 miles east of Boston, with time running out on the oxygen supply aboard the missing submersible that was set for the ocean floor wreckage of the Titanic.

- Coast Guard officials said the vessel had enough oxygen to last until this morning.

- A Canadian military surveillance aircraft detected underwater noises Wednesday morning.