Rich Guys Are Diving Down to the Titanic Again, Because Things Will Be Different This Time

a tourist submarine has gone missing in the north atlantic mini manned submarine to explore the ocean floor
Billionaire Plans Titanic Mission Naeblys - Getty Images
  • Ohio real estate billionaire Larry Connor has plans to partner with the Triton Submarines co-founder to dive to the Titanic in 2026.

  • The Triton 4000/2 Abyssal Explorer is designed to dive over 13,000 feet, enough to reach the ocean floor where the Titanic resides.

  • Connor has long sought extreme adventures, having traveled to the Mariana Trench and the International Space Station.

The last time a group of adventurers attempted to visit the Titanic, located about 12,500 feet below the ocean’s surface, it ended in a tragedy that echoed around the world. But that failure reportedly inspired an Ohio real estate billionaire to prove that a voyage to the Titanic on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean can be done safely.

“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,” Larry Connor tells The Wall Street Journal.

To make it happen, the wealthy businessman, who has already visited the Mariana Trench and the International Space Station, will partner with Patrick Lahey, co-founder of Triton Submarines. The pair plan to join in the company’s 4000/2 Abyssal Explorer to drop 13,000 feet—the depth the submersible is reportedly capable of handling—to explore the Titanic in summer 2026.

“Patrick has been thinking about and designing this for over a decade,” Connor tells the newspaper. “But we didn’t have the materials and technology. You couldn’t have built this sub five years ago.”

According to The Wall Street Journal, the OceanGate-owned Titan’s implosion inspired the mission. Connor contacted Lahey, a critic of OceanGate and its practices, in the aftermath of the summer 2023 news and said the two should prove to the world they were capable of something better. “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 tells The Wall Street Journal about what Connor told him at the time.

The June 18, 2023, implosion of the 22-foot-long Titan submersible happened roughly one hour and 45 minutes into a mission to bring five people to see the Titanic. During the rescue attempt of the Titan, remotely operated underwater vehicles found a debris field from the Titan about 1,600 feet from the bow of the Titanic.

The expected 2026 effort will take place in the Triton 4000/2 Abyss Explorer, named for its ability to send two people 4,000 meters (13,500 feet) into the depth of the ocean within the acrylic sub’s construction.

The Triton submersible features what the company calls a “Gull Wing” design to improve versatility of movement. The wings retract for ascent and descent, while allowing movement through tight spaces. The wings can partially deploy to help the submersible silently glide and track objects, while fully deployed the wings raise the vehicle’s propulsion, managed by eight direct-drive thrusters. Cameras on the wing tips provide a fresh perspective on the surroundings.

“As a platform,” the company boasts on its website, “the Triton Abyssal Explorer’s capabilities are simply unmatched.”

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