Ohio billionaire to take submarine to Titanic site one year after OceanGate implosion – NBC Bay Area

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Originally appeared on E! Online

The Titanic wreckage will have visitors once again.

Nearly one year after the OceanGate submersible imploded, billionaire real estate investor Larry Connor and Triton Submarines co-founder Patrick Lahey are developing a new vessel to visit the shipwreck.

“I want to show people worldwide that while the ocean is extremely powerful,” Connor told The Wall Street Journal in an interview published May 26, “it can be wonderful and enjoyable and really kind of life-changing if you go about it the right way.”

Five people died after going missing in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean while on a submersible tour of the Titanic. Here’s what you need to know.

After the harrowing search for the Titan submersible last June captivated the world — which faced a tragic ending when the wreckage indicated none of the five passengers aboard had survived the implosion — the personal-sub industry took a major hit.

“This tragedy had a chilling effect on people’s interest in these vehicles,” Lahey explained. “It reignited old myths that only a crazy person would dive in one of these things.”

So, it surprised Lahey when Connor reached out with a business proposition.

Photos: Famous Freak Accidents

“We had a client, a wonderful man,” Lahey recalled of Connor. “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.'”

The pair are planning a journey to the Titanic in a two-person submersible, which they named the Triton 4000/2 Abyssal Explorer. The vessel, which is listed on the company’s website for $20 million, can dive up to 4,000 meters — 200 meters deeper than the Titanic’s site.

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

The OceanGate implosion — which took the lives of Hamish Harding, Paul-Henri Nargeolet, Shahzada Dawood and his 19-year-old son Suleman Dawood, as well as the company’s CEO Stockton Rush — rattled the industry. But experts didn’t see the company’s problems as broader submersible problems.

Instead, Lahey took aim at Rush for his experimental designs and materials, such as carbon fiber, which was used in the Titan.

“He could even convince someone who knew and understood the risks,” he told The Times in June, “it was really quite predatory.”

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