Billionaire plans to ride $20 million submersible to the Titanic

‘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.’
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Underwater image of Titanic wreckage
Titan's 4000/2 Abyssal Explorer submersible is certified to handle deep sea exploration. Corbis Documentary / Getty

An Ohio real estate developer is the latest billionaire planning to visit the Titanic in a deep-sea submersible. Larry Connor confirmed his intentions during a recent Triton Submersible profile for The Wall Street Journal, which also revealed that Triton’s co-founder Patrick Lahey will pilot the $20 million, two-passenger 4000/2 Abyssal Explorer. According to Lahey, Connor proposed the trip to Triton last summer—just days after another company’s experimental vessel, the OceanGate Titan, imploded en route to the historic shipwreck, killing all five passengers including OceanGate’s own CEO.

“We [have] a client, a wonderful man. 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,’” Lahey told The WSJ over the weekend.

[Related: Newest luxury submersible offers ocean explorers champagne and blackjack.]

OceanGate’s Titan made international headlines in June 2023 after suddenly losing contact with its surface crew while en route to briefly pass near the Titanic’s wreckage. Amid four days of multinational rescue efforts, it became clear industry experts—including Triton’s co-founder Lahey—had repeatedly tried for years to dissuade OceanGate and its CEO Stockton Rush from using the unclassed, experimental submersible. On June 22, 2023, Officials confirmed the $250,000-per-seat vehicle suffered a near-instantaneous “catastrophic implosion.” Multiple investigations into the fatal event are ongoing, including reviews by the US Coast Guard, the National Transportation Safety Board, and the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.

4000/2 Abyssal Explorer Titanic sub rendering
A rendering of Triton’s new deep sea submersible. Credit: Connor Group

Unlike Titan, all of Triton’s submersibles, including the 4000/2 Abyssal Explorer, adhere to internationally recognized DNV-GL safety standards. Triton’s previous submersibles have been employed during the Five Deeps Expedition and the filming of Blue Planet II, and counts James Cameron as a stakeholder. According to Connor, Patrick Lahey spent over a decade designing the Abyssal Explorer, but previously lacked the necessary technology and materials. “You couldn’t have built this sub five years ago,” Connor claimed in the WSJ feature.

[Related: Why finding the OceanGate Titan submersible was so challenging.]

Triton’s website advertises the Abyssal Explorer as “the world’s deepest diving acrylic sub” and the only of its kind certified to withstand the ocean’s crushing external pressures generated at 13,000-feet deep. Its retractable “Gull Wing” design allows for streamlined ascents and descents, as well as a “Silent Glide” feature meant to allow the submersible to “track objects, maintain a heading and glide towards points of interest without engaging its eight, direct-drive thrusters.”

The real estate magnate said he hopes his upcoming luxury trip will help “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.”