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Saturday, 28 July, 2001, 20:10 GMT 21:10 UK
Titanic couple take the plunge
Kimberley Miller and David Leibowitz
The couple are keen scuba divers
An American couple have made history by getting married on the wreck of the Titanic, inside a submersible on the ship's deck.

New Yorkers David Leibowitz and Kimberley Miller descended to the wreck - four kilometres (2.4 miles) under the North Atlantic - in one of the submersibles used in the Hollywood movie Titanic.

Bow of Titanic wreck
The bow - scene of the world's deepest wedding
They have rejected allegations that their wedding is in bad taste - an "insult" to the 1,523 people who died when the ship sank in 1912.

Captain Ron Warwick, Captain of the cruise liner, QE2, performed the extraordinary ceremony from the operations room of the Russian research ship, Akademik Keldysh.

Dressed in flame retardant suits, the couple had to remain on their knees throughout because the submersible is so small.

Exchange of rings

The BBC's John McIntyre who is on the scene said Mr Leibowitz could be heard, albeit sounding robotic, making his vows before placing the ring on his new wife's finger.

Mr Warwick then told the couple via a hydrophone they were man and wife and they could now kiss.

The couple's chance to get married on the wreck came after Mr Leibowitz won a contest organised by a new diving internet company, Subsea Explorer.

The company was flooded with about 28,000 entries to win the trip of a lifetime.

Visits to the Titanic cost $36,000 per person - money that the Russian Academy of Sciences says it needs to fund its research projects.

But the trip has been criticised by people in Southampton whose relatives died in the Titanic disaster.

Publicity stunt

The British Titanic Society condemned the wedding as a publicity stunt.

Mir submarine
Mir: The mini-sub used by the expedition

Brian Ticehurst, of the British Titanic Society, said it was "an insult to each one of those people that this couple should spoil the site by getting married".

"We don't really view this as a gravesite," Mr Leibowitz responded, "Still if you were to be married at a church, you'd have to treat that with reverence because you'd be near a graveyard, too."

The BBC's Jon McIntyre
"Titanic has to be one of the eeriest places on earth"
See also:

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Old letters fetch Titanic prices
22 Jul 00 | Americas
Hunt on for Titanic gems
08 Aug 98 | World
Going, going, gone ... down
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