'Titanic' passengers' relatives object to web designer's marriage above the wreck

By Andrew Buncombe
Monday 14 April 2014 05:03
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At least there was no room for Celine Dion. Two New Yorkers this weekend swore that their hearts would go on when they descended two-and-a-half miles in a submarine and exchanged vows above the wreck of Titanic.

David Leibowitz and Kimberley Miller made their journey beneath the North Atlantic in one of the submersibles that was used in the making of the Hollywood movie about the doomed liner.

Dressed in flame-retardant suits and perched on their knees throughout because the submersible was so small, the couple were married by Captain Ron Warwick, captain of the cruise liner QE2. The captain was actually above water, in the operations room of the Russian research ship Akademik Keldysh.

The couple's chance to exchange rings above the famous wreck came after Mr Leibowitz won a contest organised by a new diving internet company, Subsea Explorer. The company received 28,000 entries to win the trip, which normally costs $36,000 per person. But the wedding, carried out 400 miles south-east of St John's, Newfoundland, has been criticised by those whose relatives were among the 1,523 people who died when the "unsinkable" ship hit an iceberg and sank in April 1912.

Brian Ticehurst, of the British Titanic Society, said it was "an insult to each one of those people that this couple should spoil the site by getting married".

But the groom dismissed the comments. Mr Leibowitz, a web designer, added: "We don't really view this as a gravesite. Still if you were to be married at a church, you'd have to treat that with reverence because you'd be near a graveyard, too."

The Russian Academy of Sciences, which provides the submersibles used for these dives, says that the money provided by such trips to the Titanic helps to fund its research projects.

The head scientist, Anatoly Sagalevitch, said: "Most of the money is for fuel, food and the salary of the crew. We have on board 12 scientists. They are doing a lot of research."

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