Sir Richard Branson unveils underwater “plane” for deep sea tours

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Adventure Sir Richard Branson has unveiled his new toy – an underwater “plane” for a voyage to the bottom of the sea.

The Virgin Atlantic boss hopes the submarine with fighter jet technology will explore unchartered depths at 35,000ft.

The £415,000 carbon fibre prototype Necker Nymph will swoop 130ft under the surface but Sir Richard, 59, is building a stronger version to go deeper than any sub has ever been.

Sir Richard said: “It is very similar to an airplane flying in the sea. You can literally do loop-the-loops.”

It could eventually reach the Mariana Trench, believed to be the world’s lowest spot in the Pacific Ocean.

US company Hawkes built the 15ft “winged” sub which has three 360-degree view cockpits and is steered like a plane with a joystick.

Film director James Cameron used one of their subs to look for underwater inspiration for his 3D blockbuster Avatar.

Sir Richard – who last month unveiled the world’s first commercial spaceship – told The Sun the sub will be based at his private Necker Island.

He plans to use it to take tourists on underwater trips.

He said: “We hope to have submarines dotted throughout the world.

“A pressurised submarine is nearly completed. But the real challenge is to explore what’s going on at the bottom of the oceans.”