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Rare footage shows ‘haunting’ dives to Titanic after wreck’s discovery

Rare footage of the Titanic lying on the Atlantic Ocean floor has been released.

This video, which is almost all new to the public, was made just months after the wreckage was discovered by explorers in September 1985.

After hitting an iceberg, the Titanic, which was en route from Southampton to New York, drowned in the North Atlantic.

A team from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the French National Institute of Oceanography discovered the liner, which was the largest floating vessel at the time it entered service.

Image: The bow of the ship is clearly visible. Pic by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, WHOI Archives

The footage was captured during 11 dives in July 1986 from both a submersible and small remotely controlled vessel that can maneuver through tight spaces.

Uncut footage of 80 minutes is now available on WHOI’s YouTube channel.

These grainy black-and-white images, which are grainy in color, show the bow of a liner and railings on one of its decks.

Image Pictures: WHOI Archives. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Robert Ballard, an oceanographer, said that the first thing he saw as he plunged 2.5 miles below the sea was a “giant wall made of riveted steel which rose more than 100 feet and some feet above us”.

He said, “I never looked at the Titanic. I looked up at Titanic. Everything was huge.”

“It was pretty haunting”

There was no flesh or bones left of human flesh, but Mr Ballard did see shoes, including those belonging to a mother and baby.

He said that “after the Titanic sank”, those who went into the sea without life jackets died from hypothermia.

Robert Ballard.
Image Robert Ballard dived at the wreck in 1986

When the submersible’s batteries began to take on water, it was necessary for three people to be able to swim out.

Mr Ballard recalled seeing the Titanic’s portholes as it rose.

It was almost like other people were looking at us. He said it was quite haunting.

Andy Bowen, a WHOI engineer, stated that the greatest challenge was the “remoteness” of the location. He also said that “water is close to freezing”.

The publication of the footage coincides with the 25th anniversary rerelease of Titanic by James Cameron.

It starred Kate Winslet, Leonardo DiCaprio and won 11 Academy Awards, including best picture.

Cameron stated in a statement that “the human stories embodied on the great ship continue to resonate.”

WHOI releases this footage to tell a part of a larger story that spans generations and circles around the globe.


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