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US billionaire to take submersible to Titanic site months after Titan tragedy to prove journey is safe

Billionaire Larry Connor announced his intentions to venture with Triton Submarines co-founder Patrick Lahey to descend over 12,400 feet to the Titanic wreckage site in a two-person submersible.

US billionaire to take submersible to Titanic site months after Titan tragedy to prove journey is safe snt
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First Published May 28, 2024, 12:46 PM IST

Nearly a year following the shocking Titan sub's implosion, an Ohio-based real estate investor aims to demonstrate the safety of such expeditions by planning a dive to Titanic depths. Billionaire Larry Connor announced his intentions to venture with Triton Submarines co-founder Patrick Lahey to descend over 12,400 feet to the Titanic wreckage site in a two-person submersible, according to a New York Post report.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, the investor Larry Connor said, "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 has developed a Triton 4000/2 Abyssal Explorer, a $20 million vessel designated for the expedition. Named "4000" for its ability to reach depths of 4000 meters, the submarine represents years of planning and design by Patrick Lahey.

"Patrick has been thinking about and designing this for over a decade. But we didn't have the materials and technology. You couldn't have built this sub five years ago," he added.

Triton Submarines co-founder Patrick Lahey revealed to the Wall Street Journal that Connor reached out to him shortly after the Titan sub's collapse with a determination to create a submersible capable of safe dives.

"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 told about the billionaire.

Despite Connor's enthusiasm, he has not provided a specific date or timeline for the project.

Lahey was among the critics within the industry who had been vocal about OceanGate's safety standards both before and after the disaster. He criticized OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush's approach to attracting passengers as "quite predatory."

It's worth noting that passengers aboard the Titan were required to sign waivers classifying the ship as "experimental" three times. The waivers outlined various potential risks, including the possibility of death, as reported by Business Insider. Previous travelers also mentioned errors, unsuccessful journeys, and feelings of insecurity.

In a tragic accident, British explorer Hamish Harding, French submarine expert Paul-Henri Nargeolet, Pakistani-British tycoon Shahzada Dawood, his son Suleman, and Stockton Rush lost their lives. Following this devastating event, OceanGate ceased its expeditions.

After nearly five days of search and recovery efforts, experts retrieved presumed human remains from the remnants of the Titan sub. The mangled debris recovered from the small submersible was transported to eastern Canada, marking the conclusion of a challenging operation.

Additionally, a debris field was discovered on the seafloor, located 1,600 feet from the bow of the Titanic. The Titanic rests more than two miles below the ocean's surface and approximately 400 miles off the coast of Newfoundland.

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