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Branson hopes his dive will be deep in impact

He may have lost the race to the bottom of the ocean to director James Cameron, but Richard Branson is confident his own deep-sea dive will reveal more than his rival's did.

Mr Cameron made the first solo dive to the depths of the Marianas Trench, seven miles under the surface of the Pacific, trumping Mr Branson, who has been developing his own deep-sea craft for a number of years.

But the billionaire tycoon and adventurer insists he is not jealous of the 'Titanic' director, and thinks that his own quest, which will see him journey to the floor of the Puerto Rico Trench in the Atlantic, will prove even more thrilling than Mr Cameron's journey to the bottom of the Pacific.

While Mr Cameron discovered a lunar landscape with no living creatures larger than inch-long prawn-like crustaceans, Mr Branson is likely to see much larger sea-life: "The Puerto Rico Trench is deeper than Mount Everest is tall, and it is completely unexplored. There are numerous Spanish and British galleons which have gone down there, so we would hope to be able to explore those. There are lots of different big creatures too," he said.

The founder of the Virgin group of companies is due to make his voyage in about four months. He explained that he had never been planning to explore the Marianas Trench, but admitted it was a disappointment that Mr Cameron beat his attempt. (©Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent