A crew of three looked at the wreck of the ‘unsinkable’ Titanic 38 years ago and captured the first time people saw the massive ship up close since it sank in 1912 – and this uncut video has now been released.
Captured in July 1986, the haunting footage shows the craft approaching the Titanic, exploring the bow and perching on the deck once filled with wide-eyed passengers embarking on a voyage to America 111 years ago.
The video of the ill-fated ship breaking in two pieces was recorded 12,400 feet below the North Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada.
Robert Ballard, the mission leader aboard a manned submarine, marveled at the sheer size of the Titanic as it looked like a huge wall emerging from the murky waters.
“The first thing I saw coming out of the darkness at 30 feet was this wall, this giant wall of riveted steel that rose more than 100 feet above us,” Ballard said in a statement.
“I never looked down on the Titanic. I looked up at the Titanic. Nothing was small.’
Footage has been released of the first human journey to the Titanic wreck. The 80-plus minute video was shot in 1986 – a year after the ship was discovered
The more than 80 minutes of footage on the WHOI’s YouTube channel details some of the dive’s remarkable feats.
Ballard said there were no human flesh or bones left on or around the wreckage, but he saw shoes, including the footwear of what appeared to be a mother and baby, that looked like tombstones marking the spot where some of the people who perished came. to rest on the ocean floor.
“It was like people were looking back at us. It was actually pretty terrifying,” he said.
“After the Titanic sank, those who went into the water without a life jacket died of hypothermia and their bodies came raining down.”
The unveiling coincides with the re-release of director James Cameron’s 1997 film ‘Titanic’ on his 25th birthday.
“More than a century after the loss of the Titanic, the human stories embodied in the great ship continue to resonate,” ocean explorer and filmmaker Cameron said in a statement.
Like many, I was transfixed when Alvin and Jason Jr. ventured to and into the wreck.
“By releasing this footage, WHOI [Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution] helps tell an important part of a story that spans generations and goes around the world.’
The footage begins with the crew traveling to the ship seen below
The haunting images, though dark, took the crew on a journey through the massive ship that sank in 1912. The crew traveled along the deck (pictured) where thousands of people stood on the maiden voyage
The three-man crew ventured 12,400 feet under the North Atlantic Ocean in a human-occupied vehicle named Alvin (pictured)
The mission was led by Robert Ballard (pictured)
Dubbed the “unsinkable ship,” the Titanic sank four days into its maiden voyage from Southampton, England to New York.
The giant ship collided with an iceberg, split in two and sank to the bottom – 1,517 of the 2,224 passengers and crew on board died.
WHOI, along with the French oceanographic reconnaissance organization IFREMER, discovered the ship’s final resting place on September 1, 1985 using a towed underwater camera.
Nine months later, the WHOI team returned to the Alvin site and the remotely operated underwater reconnaissance vehicle Jason Jr., which captured iconic images of the ship’s interior.
There had been previous attempts to find the wreck.
The grainy images first show the deck of the Titanic
The images show the wear and tear of the ship, which has been lying at the bottom of the ocean for 111 years
Many of the Titanic’s mechanical parts have eroded, but they still stand the test of time
But the 1985 discovery and 1986 voyage were made possible by advanced underwater vehicles that could withstand the brutal conditions, said WHOI engineer Andy Bowen, who helped develop them.
Titanic is in a part of the ocean that you would describe as an abyss. It’s more than 4,000 feet deep in the ocean,” Bowen said.
The water has temperatures near freezing and the biggest challenge is probably the remoteness of the site, and in particular the harsh environment in terms of the pressure our equipment is exposed to.”
Ballard said he went through the gamut of emotions during the 1985 mission.
The story behind the discovery of the Titanic wreck in 1985 involved the United States Navy.
The journey to the bottom of the sea began three years earlier when Ballard was a naval intelligence officer and oceanographer trying to develop a remote-controlled underwater vehicle to locate the wreckage of the Titanic.
But Ballard was running out of money and needed funding, so they turned to Navy deputy chief of operations Ronald Thunman, according to CBS News.
The Titanic was covered in marine life that found a home on the ill-fated ship
Solid bronze capstans, the metal structures used to move heavy weight by means of ropes, cables or chains, are still attached to the deck of the Titanic
About 1,500 people died on the ship’s maiden voyage from Southampton, England, to New York City
Thunman agreed to fund the Titanic expedition on one condition: that Ballard use the money and time to locate two nuclear submarines that went missing in the Atlantic in the 1960s.
While Ballard was looking for the Thatcher and the Scorpion submarines, the Titanic was becoming a bit of an afterthought.
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“I wasn’t a Titanic groupie,” he said. “I was deeply involved in my military program. So I didn’t expect to be affected by the discovery.”
But with 12 days left of the mission, Ballard and his crew stumbled upon the ship’s remains.
The Titanic sank at about 2:20 a.m. and the discovery in 1985 using the underwater camera occurred at about 2:00 a.m.
Ballard recalled one of the crew looking at the clock and saying, “She’s sinking in 20 minutes.”
“We basically shut down the operation and lifted the vehicle to sort my thoughts and I said, ‘I’m going to go out and get myself back together,’ and everyone else followed suit,” he said.
“We had a small memorial service for all the deceased. But we were there, we were in this place.’
It was hallowed ground, like the Gettysburg battlefield, Ballard said.
The story of the Titanic fascinates people to this day for many reasons, Ballard said.
It was the world’s largest ocean liner at the time and was said to be virtually unsinkable.
The passengers included some of the richest and most famous in the world. And in the aftermath, the world heard remarkable stories of heroism and courage from the crew and passengers.
He said, “I think everyone is asking themselves, ‘If I were there, what would I have done?’