Another billionaire is diving to the Titanic wreck: One year after OceanGate disaster

Billionaires

A luxury real estate billionaire who has travelled to the deepest point on Earth and to the International Space Station will reportedly find his next thrill miles beneath the surface of the ocean on a two-person submersible to explore the Titanic wreck, one year after another sub imploded and killed five people on board.
RMS Titanic Expedition

The wreck of the Titanic in the Atlantic Ocean the North off Newfoundland.

Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Key Takeaways
  • Larry Connor, a real estate investor who got his start in Ohio and now has a net worth of $2 billion, will board a Triton Submarines submersible and dive to the depths of the Titanic wreck with the company’s CEO to prove the ocean-exploration industry is still a safe and reputable one after the now-defunct OceanGate company’s sub Titan imploded, The Wall Street Journal reported.
  • The billionaire reached out to Triton’s CEO, Patrick Lahey, just days after the Titan sub’s high-profile implosion and expressed interest in recreating the dive on a different vessel 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.
  • The pair will board the Triton 4000/2 Abyssal Explorer, which is reportedly safe to dive as deep as 4,000 meters—200 more than the depth of the famed Titanic wreck.
  • Connor, 74, has a history of thrill-seeking and has undertaken a number of dangerous adventures, including skydiving out of a balloon at a record-breaking 38,139 feet, traveling 35,876 feet below sea level to the Mariana Trench and becoming one of the world’s first private astronauts (he flew to the ISS on Axiom Mission 1 in 2022).
  • The thrillionaire applies the same philosophy of danger and opportunity to his personal life as his private life: “You’ve got to be willing to take calculated risk, not stupid risk,” he told Forbes earlier this year.
  • Connor co-founded a real estate firm in Dayton, Ohio, in 1991 and bought out his partners a decade later—he now invests in luxury apartment buildings across the country through the Connor Group, which has an annual rate of return of 30.4%.
  • The Connor Group has sold more than $6 billion worth of properties since 1996, giving its founder an estimated personal net worth of $2 billion to make him the 1,691st richest person in the world as of Tuesday.
Crucial Quote

“Obviously he’s got a significant ego and really believes in his own abilities,” Roger Lipson, a longtime partner of Connor, told Forbes this year, before his voyage to the Titanic was announced. “But he’s measured enough and has that internal risk calculator that’s kept him on the planet.”

What We Don’t Know

When the trip will take place. Neither Lahey nor Connor have confirmed a date for their journey to the Titanic.

Key Background

Five people died aboard OceanGate’s unregulated Titan submersible last summer: the company’s CEO Stockton Rush, ocean explorer Paul-Henri Nargeolet, aviation mogul Hamish Harding (who was referred to as a billionaire by some British news outlets but did not feature on Forbes’ billionaire list), Pakistani businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son, 19-year-old Suleman Dawood. The “experimental” submersible was unregulated and partially built using parts from RV supplier Camping World, multiple outlets reported at the time.

The sub lost communication with the surface less than two hours into its dive and rescuers searched for signs of life for days before debris was discovered about 500 yards from the bow of the sunken Titanic. Experts say the sub likely imploded under the extreme pressure at the depths of the ocean and the implosion is thought to have been near instantaneous, occurring in less than 40 milliseconds. Since the explosion, others in the submersible industry have spoken out against the risks taken by Rush and his company.

The founders of other companies have said Rush and his company used un-classed technology—or vessels that weren’t certified as safe and up to code—and that the explosion set back the entire industry, according to the Wall Street Journal. Lahey and Connor told the Journal they hope to prove the Titan was a preventable tragedy that does not reflect on the wider world of ocean exploration.

Tangent

Connor isn’t the only billionaire with interest in the Titanic. Clive Palmer, an Australian mining billionaire, has launched a plan to build an almost exact replica of the luxury ocean liner. Palmer plans to start building “Titanic II” early next year and his company, Blue Star Line, aims to essentially recreate the exact ship that sank in 1912. The ship’s maiden voyage—which will retrace the steps of its predecessor and sail from Southampton, England to New York—is tentatively set for June 2027.

This article was first published on forbes.com and all figures are in USD.

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