Another Billionaire Plans To Take Sub To 'Titanic-Level Depths' After OceanGate Tragedy

Patrick Lahey, the CEO and co-founder of Triton Submarines, wants to calm people’s fears surrounding submersibles.

The deep-sea explorer and billionaire real estate investor Larry Connor are developing a new vessel to visit the famed Titanic shipwreck and prove submersible trips are safe following last year’s OceanGate debacle that led to five people dying aboard its Titan sub.

“This tragedy had a chilling effect on people’s interest in these vehicles,” Lahey told The Wall Street Journal in a story published last week. “It reignited old myths that only a crazy person would dive in one of these things.”

“We had a client, a wonderful man,” he added. “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.’”

That client happened to be none other than Connor, who has used his $2 billion net worth to travel to the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the ocean, and the International Space Station. Connor contacted Lahey within days of the Titan implosion.

“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,” Connor told the Journal.

That endeavor is certainly ambitious in light of the furor that emerged last summer, when OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush and four of his Titan passengers were killed in an implosion 2.5 miles beneath the surface during a trip to visit the Titanic.

Rush (left), seen here aboard one of his submersibles in 2013, was killed in last year's dive. Lahey said the tragedy
Rush (left), seen here aboard one of his submersibles in 2013, was killed in last year's dive. Lahey said the tragedy "had a chilling effect on people’s interest" in submersibles. Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

While some conservatives blamed the tragedy on “wokeness,” multiple people close to Rush later revealed he had a “cavalier attitude” about safety and knew the Titan was a deadly “mousetrap for billionaires” while assuring customers it was safer than scuba diving.

Lahey and Connor were determined to avoid the Titan’s shoddy construction and built a two-man submersible called the Triton 4000/2 Abyssal Explorer. According to the Journal, the vessel can purportedly descend to 4,000 meters — 200 more than needed to reach the Titanic.

While the sub itself is already listed on Triton’s website for a whopping $20 million, a dive date for the Triton 4000 has yet to be announced. Whether Lahey and Connor will succeed in changing public opinion on deep-sea exploration thus remains to be seen.