Ohio billionaire aims to restore confidence in submersible industry with $20 million vessel

Larry Connor plans to dive to the Titanic site, showcasing advanced technology and safety measures in the wake of the OceanGate tragedy

Ohio billionaire aims to restore confidence in submersible industry with $20 million vessel
News18
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Following the tragic implosion of the OceanGate submersible last year, Ohio real estate billionaire Larry Connor has announced his intention to embark on a mission to the Titanic site using a state-of-the-art $20 million submersible. He intends to reignite interest in the industry.

Connor, from from Dayton, Ohio, told the Wall Street Journal he aims to demonstrate that with proper safety measures and advanced technology, the ocean can be a wonderful and life-changing experience. "I want to 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."

The vessel, named the Triton 4000/2 Abyssal Explorer, is designed by Triton Submarines co-founder Patrick Lahey to withstand repeated dives to depths exceeding 12,400 feet. Connor emphasized the advancements in materials and technology that have made this submersible possible, stating, "You couldn't have built this sub five years ago."

The initiative comes in the wake of the devastating OceanGate implosion on June 18, 2023, which claimed the lives of all five people aboard the submersible. Shortly after the incident, Connor reached out to Lahey, urging him to build a safer and more reliable vessel to restore credibility to the industry.

Lahey recounted the conversation, saying, "[He 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."

While no specific date has been set for the voyage, Connor and Lahey are determined to address the safety concerns that have plagued the submersible industry. Lahey himself had previously questioned the safety standards and criticized the "quite predatory" rush in the submersible business.

The OceanGate incident last year claimed the lives of five individuals, including explorer Hamish Harding, French Titanic researcher Paul-Henri Nargeolet, Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood, and his 19-year-old son.

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