In another wild turn of events, one of the passengers aboard the missing Titanic submarine has a close connection to the famous shipwreck the vessel set out to visit.
OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush’s wife, Wendy Rush, is the great-great-granddaughter of first-class passengers Isidor and Ida Straus, according to archival records published by The New York Times on Wednesday, June 21. Born Wendy Hollings Weil, she is a descendant of one of the couple’s seven children named Minnie, who married Wendy’s great-grandfather Dr. Richard Weil in 1905.
According to the UK National Archives website, Isidor and Ida were traveling aboard the Titanic with Ida’s maid, Ellen Bird, and manservant, John Farthing, to return to the U.S. from their native Germany. Though they were directed to lifeboats as the ship was sinking, Isidor refused to board before younger men were given the chance. Ida, for her part, would not get on the lifeboat without her husband.
Ida reportedly gave Ellen her fur coat as she boarded a lifeboat, and the two died as the Titanic sank into the ocean. Isidor’s body was later recovered and buried in New York’s Woodlawn Commentary, while Ida and John’s remains were never discovered. The couple have been honored with a memorial in New York City’s Straus Park, which was also named after them.
Fans of the 1997 Oscar-winning film Titanic may recall seeing a fictionalized version of Isidor and Ida as the older couple shown holding each other in bed as water rushed into their room. The pair were also featured in a deleted scene as Ida tells her husband that she won’t board the lifeboat without him.
Stockton is among five passengers — including Hamish Harding, Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman Dawood and notable Titanic explorer Paul-Henri Nargeolet — on board the private submersible that went missing earlier this week.
“We are exploring and mobilizing all options to bring the crew back safely,” OceanGate said in a statement via Twitter on Monday, June 19. “Our entire focus is on the crewmembers in the submersible and their families. We are deeply thankful for the extensive assistance we have received from several government agencies and deep sea companies in our efforts to reestablish contact with the submersible. We are working toward the safe return of the crewmembers.”
Harding’s stepson, Brian Szasz, made headlines after he attended a Blink-182 concert amid the search for his stepfather and the other missing passengers. “It might be distasteful being here but my family would want me to be at the Blink-182 show as it’s my favorite band and music helps me in difficult times,” the 37-year-old wrote via Facebook on Monday.
He later sent a Twitter message to Blink-182 band member Tom DeLonge, writing, “My stepdad is missing in the sub at the titanic site. I’m here at the San Diego show for support thanks.🖤🙏.”
Though Szasz later deleted his Facebook post, he faced backlash from social media users, including Cardi B. “People are like, ‘What is he supposed to do? Be sad at the house? Is he supposed to go look for him himself?’” the “Up” rapper, 30, said in an Instagram Story video on Tuesday, June 20.
She continued: “Yes. You’re supposed to be at the house sad. You’re supposed to be crying for me. You’re supposed to be right next to the phone waiting to hear any updates about me.”
Szasz followed up by calling Cardi B “a [piece of s–t] trashy celeb” in a series of tweets, adding, “I went to a Blink 182 concert for coping rather than sitting at home and watching the news. Shame on you Cardi get some class!”