Skip to main content

American billionaire believes he can visit the Titanic safely 1 year after submersible deaths

Share

A billionaire American adventurer is planning to visit the Titanic wreckage in a submarine.

Larry Connor and Patrick Lahey of Triton Submarines are teaming up for the mission, with a launch target in 2026. Connor insists any journey will be a safe one — less than a year ago, five people died in a dramatic undersea implosion on the Oceangate submersible on its ill-fated voyage to the ship.

“I will not go any place or do any dives if I’m not 100 per cent convinced that the submersible is safe,” Connor told ABC’s Good Morning America.

“I am very confident, but the moment we don’t meet one standard the project is done. We will not compromise safety.”

Connor and his group are pledging that their vessel — they plan to use a Triton submarine — will be certified by a third-party group.

As for the Oceangate Titan submersible, which imploded on its way to the Titanic wreckage in June 2023, engineers had flagged concerns about the vessel in 2018. Bart Kemper, principal engineer with Kemper Engineering Services in Louisiana, described the development of the submersible as "experimental with no oversight" during an interview with the Canadian Press.

American billionaire Larry Connor says he plans to embark on an underwater journey to the Titanic wreckage. (Image source: Axiom Space)

The search for the vessel was one of the most dramatic search and rescue missions ever. St. John’s, on Newfoundland's east coast and relatively close to the Titanic site, played host to much of the search operation and Oceangate’s preparation and launch operations before that.

Oceangate CEO Stockton Rush was one of five who died when the vessel imploded. By his own account, his company was a maverick in the industry, brushing off classifications and third-party reviews for internal checks in pursuit of innovation.

“The Oceangate vessel was not certified and never would have been,” Connor said. “If you look at submersibles that have been DNV certified, there’s never been an accident.”

Triton Submarines has had some previous successes: In 2020, one of its vessels was taken 10 kilometres into the Challenger Deep, the deepest known point in the ocean.

Larry Daley attended an expedition to the Titanic in 2003. (Garrett Barry, CTV News)

St. John’s adventurer and businessman Larry Daley has worked with Lahey before, and says his group has a thorough system of checks and balances “like NASA.”

Daley’s already been down to see the Titanic with his own two eyes, in an expedition in 2003.

“Knowing Patrick and how he does things, I have no issue with safety or concerns for anyone that’s working with them,” he said.

There’s something about the Titanic wreckage that still calls out to adventurers, and Daley said there’s plenty of real scientific inquiry left to be done at the site.

“With the decaying of the wreck, over the especially last 10 or 15 years, there are more things to be mapped out there now,” he said.

“But the lure is, obviously, the excitement and the story behind Titanic.”

With files from The Canadian Press

CTVNews.ca Top Stories

Local Spotlight