By early 2011, Cameron had announced his intention to dive to the trench, and more personnel arrived in Allum’s workshop to refine the sub’s sonar system, communications, and hydraulics. Then came another surprise. In April, the Virgin Group’s founder, Richard Branson, announced that he and millionaire Chris Welsh were joining forces with designer Graham Hawkes. The mission would pick up where Hawkes had left off following the death of his patron, Steve Fossett, in a plane crash in 2007. Around the same time, Eric Schmidt, then chief executive of Google, announced that he was funding his own “cutting-edge” submarine, Deepsearch, for the same purpose. Once again, the race was on.