The five people aboard the Titan submersible aren’t the first to risk their lives for a chance to catch a glimpse of one of the most famous shipwrecks in history.
More than a century after the RMS Titanic struck an iceberg and sank in the North Atlantic on her maiden voyage from Britain to New York, the disaster continues to fascinate people like few other incidents in history.
The Titanic, the largest steamship in the world at the time, made headlines when it sank in the early hours of April 15, 1912, killing 1,500. She had been full of charming guests and it was called « unsinkable » by the officials of the company that managed it.
For decades thereafter, it was the holy grail of undiscovered shipwrecks and the subject of many tales, including Walter Lord’s 1955 best-seller « A Night to Remember. »
The mystique lived on even after the wreck of the Titanic was found on the seabed in 1985. Two years later, Mr. Lord was a speaker at a Titanic tribute event aboard a New York chartered yacht that included a band of five elements like the one that had played for the doomed passengers on the stern of the Titanic. In 1997, James Cameron’s film « Titanic, » starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, introduced the tragedy to a new generation.
Today, young people watch conversations about the Titanic unfold on social media, including the short-form video app TikTok, where established facts about the disaster are blended with misinformation and manipulated content.
Advances in deep-sea submersible technology have made it possible to travel to the wreck itself. With tickets for the trip to Titan priced at $250,000, the trip isn’t for everyone, and some critics balk at the very idea of visiting an underwater tomb. Even so, travel is popular enough to sustain a booming mini-industry.
The company that owns the Titan submarine, OceanGate, has been taking tourists to the wreck of the Titanic since 2021. It he said in a 2019 press release that the slots were being booked by « exploratory citizens looking for an adventurous, scientific and meaningful experience ».
This year, the company has announced five shipments, each lasting Eight daysthey were planned for 2023 and five more for 2024.
« This is your chance to step outside your everyday life and discover something truly extraordinary, » the company said. « Become one of the few to see the Titanic with your own eyes. »