Billionaire wants to take new submersible to Titanic wreckage to prove it’s safe

A two-man team plans to journey nearly 13,000 feet below sea level in a new vessel.
Titan submersible
Posted at 4:36 PM, May 28, 2024

Nearly a year after an OceanGate submersible imploded on its way to the Titanic wreckage, a billionaire wants to travel down there to prove it’s safe.

Last June, OceanGate’s Titan submersible gained international attention when it went missing with five passengers during an attempt to travel nearly 13,000 feet below sea level. The craft's implosion instantly killed all people aboard, and raised alarms about the safety of extreme tourism.

But Larry Connor, a real estate investor, is confident a new submarine can get the job done.

Connor plans to journey down to the Titanic on a vessel built by Triton, a submarine manufacturing company.

Patrick Lahey, Triton’s co-founder and CEO, will make the trip with Connor.

The pair spoke with The Wall Street Journal about their plans.

"He called me up and 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.

The Triton CEO said last year’s implosion put a damper on business and brought up “old myths” that submarines aren’t safe.

Lahey said Connor, a client of his, had been pushing for a new sub to go on the journey since just days after last year’s tragedy.

"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 WSJ.

Those who died in last year’s expedition included the CEO of OceanGate, Stockton Rush, Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman, British businessman Hamish Harding and French explorer Paul-Henri Nargeolet. All were ultra-wealthy and paid big bucks for the excursion.

After the implosion, OceanGate came under serious fire for its ill-equipped vessel. It also came to light that a former employee named David Lochridge had raised alarms years prior about the company’s unethical safety practices before the incident. Lochridge was fired after voicing concerns and attempted to sue for wrongful termination.

The Titan sub was never tested to reach depths as low as the Titanic wreckage, according to Lochridge’s lawsuit.

OceanGate has since suspended all exploration and commercial operations.