Billionaire building $20m sub to prove Titanic wreck site can be visited safely after Titan disaster

The billionaire wants to prove Titanic can be visited safely

Emma Guinness
Wednesday 29 May 2024 06:32 BST
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A year on from the Titan submersible disaster, a US billionaire is launching a new $20m submarine project to prove that the Titanic wreck site can be explored safely.

Larry Connor, 74, a real estate tycoon from Ohio, plans to travel 12,400 feet to the bottom of the North Atlantic in a two-person submersible, made by Triton Submarines.

This comes after five people lost their lives – including OceanGate founder Stockton Rush – in a similar sub when it suffered a catastrophic implosion around an hour and 45 minutes into its dive to the Titanic wreck site.

OceanGate, which charged $250,0000 for trips to the site, subsequently suspended all its operations, pending an investigation that is still ongoing.

“I want to show people worldwide that while the ocean is extremely powerful, it can be wonderful and enjoyable and really kind of life-changing if you go about it the right way,” Connor told the Wall Street Journal.

Connor is working with Patrick Lahey, an experienced diver and submersible designer, who co-founded Triton Submarines.

They will make the journey in a sub known as the Triton 4000/2 Abyssal Explorer – one of a range of submersibles produced by the company.

Larry Connor plans to visit the Titanic wreck
Larry Connor plans to visit the Titanic wreck (@theconnorgrp/YouTube)

Already advertised on the Triton Submarines website, Connor said the vehicle utilises new technology that wasn’t available as recently as five years ago.

“Patrick has been thinking about and designing this for over a decade. But we didn’t have the materials and technology,” Connor said. “You couldn’t have built this sub five years ago.”

According to the company website, the Triton is the world’s deepest diving acrylic sub, and it is advertised as having “unmatched” capabilities.

“[He said], you know, what we need to do is build a sub that can dive to [Titanic-level depths] repeatedly and safely and demonstrate to the world that you guys can do that, and that Titan was a contraption,’” Lahey said.

It is not currently known when Connor and Lahey plan to make the voyage to the Titanic wreck site.

The billionaire was previously critical of the late OceanGate founder Stockton Rush and described his approach to deep sea exploration as “predatory”.

On 18 June 2023, Rush was instantly killed alongside Hamish Harding, Stockton Rush, Shahzada and Suleman Dawood, and Paul-Henri Nargeolet in the Titan submersible.

The sub is reported to have imploded under enormous water pressure as a result of structural weakness or an issue with its hatch.

The Independent has reached out to Trion Submarines for further information.

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