Submersible Expedition: Billionaire & Explorer Explore Titanic Wreckage

A US luxury real estate billionaire and a deep-sea explorer are planning a submersible expedition to explore the Titanic. Ohio tycoon and adventurer Larry Connor and Patrick Lahey, co-founder of Triton Submarines, aim to dive to a depth of approximately 3,800 meters (12,467 feet) to reach the shipwreck in the North Atlantic Ocean.

The private submersible industry was shaken last year when an OceanGate vessel imploded en route to the Titanic, killing five people. A spokesman for Mr. Connor’s company stated on Tuesday that the proposed voyage will only proceed once the submersible is fully certified by a marine organization. No specific timeframe has been set for the expedition.

The pair plan to use the Triton 4000/2 Abyssal Explorer, a submersible designed to safely reach depths of 4,000 meters. In contrast, the Titan submarine built by OceanGate, made of carbon fiber, was certified only to 1,300 meters, well short of the Titanic’s resting place. In June 2023, the Titan imploded during a trip to the wreck, resulting in the deaths of OceanGate’s CEO Stockton Rush, 61, British-Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood, 48, and his son Suleman, 19, British businessman Hamish Harding, 58, and former French navy diver Paul-Henry Nargeolet, 77.

Mr. Rush was known for pushing safety boundaries and had ignored warnings from advisers about potential issues with the Titan. Investigations by US and Canadian authorities are ongoing.

Mr. Connor told the Wall Street Journal, which first reported on the proposed Triton expedition: “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.”

The Titan disaster had a significant impact on the private submersible industry, leading to suspended operations at OceanGate and decreased interest from other firms. Mr. Lahey expressed hope that a successful voyage would reignite interest in the industry, saying, “This tragedy had a chilling effect on people’s interest in these vehicles.”

Getty A rocket launch - Mr Connor also paid to fly to the International Space Station in 2022
Mr Connor also paid to fly to the International Space Station in 2022

Mr. Lahey co-founded Triton Submarines in 2008, while Mr. Connor leads The Connor Group, a real estate investment firm located near Dayton, Ohio. In 2021, the pair embarked on a submersible journey together to the Challenger Deep and the Sirena Deep in the Mariana Trench, which, at nearly 36,000 feet, is the deepest point on Earth’s seabed. Triton Submarines has been contacted for comment.


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