The Last Time Millionaires Went to See the Titanic, It Didn’t End Well. Now Another Company Wants to Try Again

  • Billionaire Larry Connor claims he will visit the Titanic wreckage in a submersible to prove it’s safe.

  • Conner will go down with the founder of Triton Subs, a company that manufactures personal, luxury, and commercial submersibles.

Another company wants to visit the Titanic wreckage
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In the summer of 2023, one of the most shocking news stories was undoubtedly the implosion of OceanGate’s Titan submersible, which killed five passengers. The company offered wealthy people the opportunity to see the wreckage of the Titanic, but this trip ended badly. As such, OceanGate demonstrated that the ocean is dangerous place and that going down to its depths to try to see a century-old ship can be lethal.

Now, another billionaire wants to try it to go down again. He claims he can prove it’s safe.

OceanGate wasn’t the only one. This company wasn’t the only one that offered such trips. Eyos is another firm that specializes in underwater experiences that are beyond the budget of most people. Others, like Triton and U-Boat Worx, build private submersibles, so it’s easy to imagine what it was like for them when a submersible like Titan imploded.

Triton sales director Craig Barnett told The Wall Street Journal that the company has delivered 18 personal submersibles in the past 15 years. Before the fateful event, they had 15 other projects in development, but a client cancelled one. “We had a $4 million sub we were building for a family’s yacht, and the wife pulled the plug on it,” he said.

However, a few days after the Titan implosion, the phone rang.

Larry Connor. That’s the name of the billionaire real estate investor and founder of The Connor Group. If Connor's name sounds familiar, it’s probably because a while back, he went down to the Mariana Trench. Shortly after, he was among the first tourists to travel to the International Space Station (and complain because he had to work so hard).

Larry Connor Larry Connor. Image | The Connor Group

The call Barnett received was from Connor, who told him: “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.” In his own words:

“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.”
Triton 4000/2 Abyssal Explorer Triton 4000/2 Abyssal Explorer. Image | Triton Subs
Triton 4000/2 Abyssal Explorer Triton 4000/2 Abyssal Explorer. Image | Triton Subs

The master plan. And because saying something isn’t the same as living it, Connor and Triton co-founder Patrick Lahey will descend to Titanic’s wreckage. They will use the Triton 4000/2 Abyssal Explorer, a two-person submersible capable of diving to a depth of roughly 13,100 feet (4,000 meters). The "modest" experience will cost them $20 million.

Triton 4000/2 Abyssal Explorer Triton 4000/2 Abyssal Explorer. Image | Triton Subs

When? Nobody knows. Neither Connor or Triton have said when they’ll go on the particular trip that’s ended badly before. It should be noted that Oceangate's Titan was a somewhat questionable submersible in terms of safety and certifications. Now, Triton wants to demonstrate that these experiences can be safe. (You would have to be completely sure about your product's capabilities to try do this). We’ll see.

From the ocean to Venus. OceanGate co-founder Guillermo Söhnlein hasn’t abandoned his projects and is already working on his next goal: a human colony on Venus by 2050. He doesn’t want to colonize the planet but rather establish a floating colony of a thousand people 30 miles from the surface. Söhnlein says the pressure and temperature are more moderate at that location and claims that this means life can exist there.

Image | Triton Subs

Related | Titanic-Obsessed Billionaire Wants to Build Replica With One Key Difference: Iceberg Detection Systems

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