Orlando Titanic exhibit seeing increase in visitors since OceanGate submersible tragedy

An exhibit in Orlando's tourist district holds one of the largest collections of Titanic artifacts in the world.

The recent deaths of five people diving to see the Titanic's wreckage have renewed interest in learning about the ship.

"A lot of this Titanic stuff hasn’t been talked about a lot lately, you know it’s been so long but now that this is back in the news I definitely think that it’s something that people want to take interest in and see what it’s all about," said Adam Reid, visiting the exhibition from Newfoundland, Canada, which is only a few hundred miles from the Titanic wreckage.

Reid learned that Paul-Henri or "PH" Nargeolet, a recent victim in the OceanGate submersible, brought many of the artifacts to the surface.

"This man dedicated his life to bringing up artifacts," Reid said.


Paul-Henri Nargeolet, director of a deep ocean research project dedicated to the Titanic, poses next to a miniature version of the sunken ship inside a new exhibition, at Paris Expo, on May 31, 2013, in Paris. Over a century after the sinking of the

RMS Titanic, Inc. runs the exhibit and owns the exclusive rights to bring up artifacts.

It says there has been a significant increase in visitors.

"People are now asking more questions to understand why would someone go down there 37 times, and it’s our job to answer that question and inspire that next generation," said Jessica Sanders, the president of RMS Titanic, Inc.

Sanders says the company is still mourning Nargeoloet, who made a record 37 dives to the Titanic, the last time in 2010.

"The impact is devastating for us, just personally and professionally. He was our employee, but also a colleague and a friend," Sanders said.

She says Nargeolet went down last week as a guest of OceanGate, always looking for a chance to lay eyes on the wreckage and engage with people who want to know more about it.

"Now, we have our own tragedy that’s wrapped up in this and so as we’re preserving that legacy, we have another legacy, one of our own to preserve," Sanders said.

Sanders says the company was planning another trip to the Titanic, led by Nargeolet, next year.

They plan to move forward with that plan.