THE WEIRS TIMES & THE COCHECO TIMES, Thursday, April 12, 2012
TITANIC from 18
There was champagne and celebration and then, in the aftermath, came the sobering realization that they were in the middle of a floating graveyard, an unmarked spot where 1,500 fellow human be- ings had died. Ballard said the thought
that they were at the spot where there had been life- boats or people in the water on that fateful night made it a solemn mo- ment. “They drowned right around you,” said Ballard, who said that a simple, quiet service was held on the ship in memory of those who had lost their lives at this location. The excited public reaction to the discovery turned Bal- lard into a media celebrity overnight and made pos- sible a second mission in the summer of 1986 to explore the wreck and test underwater technology. On July 13, 1986, a
three man crew descended to the ocean floor in the small, cramped subma- rine Alvin, and explored the Titanic, using a remote camera on Jason Junior, a million dollar remotely controlled camera device tethered to the sub. The dives and closeup camera views showed that
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Jason Jr. peers through a hatch into one of the Titanic’s state rooms. (Photo courtesy of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Archives)
the Titanic had indeed broken in two before sink- ing, just as those in the lifeboats had said, and that the point of separa- tion was at a weak point in the structure near aft the Grand Staircase. The three funnels remaining on the larger bow section of the ship had been torn away as the ship plunged to the ocean floor where the nose was buried 60 feet deep, in silt. The stern section, which had not been completely filled with water, went straight to the bottom where it hit hull first, decks collaps- ing down on top of one another.
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ship had been devoured over the years by marine organisms and the Grand Staircase was nothing but an empty shell of a room with one of the lights still dangling from what been a ceiling. Despite efforts to protect
the ship and preserve it as an underwater museum, treasure hunters descend- ed on the site in 1987 in the submersible Nautile and hauled many objects from the debris field back to the surface, including a statue from the aft Grand Staircase. Public reaction to what
See TITANIC on 20 P
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