Deep Sea Exploration: Billionaire Larry Connor and Triton's Patrick Lahey to Dive Titanic Depths, Proving Safety After OceanGate Disaster

They plan to descend over 12,400 feet to the Titanic Wreck Site in a two-person submersible.

An Ohio billionaire is preparing to dive to the Titanic wreck site in a new submersible, aiming to demonstrate the safety of deep-sea exploration following the tragic OceanGate incident last year.

Larry Connor, a real estate investor from Dayton, will partner with Triton Submarines co-founder Patrick Lahey for the mission. They plan to descend over 12,400 feet to the Titanic in a two-person submersible.

Ohio Billionaire Larry Connor
Billionaire Larry Conno and Patrick Lahey plans to visit Titanic Wrick site in a $20 million vessel dubbed the Triton 4000/2 Abyssal Explorer X

Connor told the Wall Street Journal, "I want to show people that the ocean, while powerful, can be wonderful and life-changing if approached correctly." The Triton 4000/2 Abyssal Explorer, a $20 million vessel designed by Lahey, is the submersible intended for this mission. Connor emphasized its repeated capability for deep-sea voyages.

"Patrick has been developing this for over a decade, but we lacked the necessary materials and technology until recently," Connor explained. "This sub couldn't have been built five years ago." The mission aims to prove that deep-sea exploration can be conducted safely, despite last year's disaster.

In June, the Titan submersible, en route to the Titanic, suffered a "catastrophic implosion," killing all five on board, including OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush. Following the incident, Connor urged Lahey to create a safer alternative.

Connor recounted his conversation with Lahey: "He said, 'We need to build a sub that can repeatedly and safely reach Titanic depths and show that Titan was flawed.'" Lahey, a vocal critic of OceanGate, had questioned the safety of their operations and accused Rush of risky practices.

Industry experts and a whistleblower had previously raised safety concerns about OceanGate's vessel. OceanGate had bypassed certification from reputable safety organizations like the American Bureau of Shipping and Det Norske Veritas.

The Titanic tragedy claimed the lives of Stockton Rush, billionaire explorer Hamish Harding, French Titanic expert Paul-Henri Nargeolet, and Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son, Sulaiman. The implosion occurred under the immense pressure of the Atlantic Ocean, causing instantaneous deaths.

Connor and Lahey's mission is set to restore confidence in the safety of deep-sea exploration. However, the exact date of their voyage remains undisclosed.