Screenshot via NPR/WHOI
It wasn’t until July of 1986, nearly 75 years after the ill-fated voyage of the RMS Titanic, that people finally laid eyes on the remains of the sunken ship.
Now those remains are resurfacing in a way, thanks to the release of more than 80 minutes of footage cut from the first voyage to the shipwreck. The research team behind the discovery of the Titanic, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, released the film on Wednesday.
Available on YouTube, the footage contains never-before-seen shots of the ship’s hull, with its rusty bow, intact railings, captain’s cabin and walk-in window.
At one point, the camera zeroes in on the chandelier, still hanging, and turns against the contemporary in a frequent state of elegant decay.
Titania, a 46,300-ton steamer once “unsinkable”, disappeared beneath the waves after hitting an iceberg on her voyage from Southampton, England to New York in 1912. Only 705 of the ship’s 2,227 passengers and crew survived, according to the Smithsonian.
Efforts to locate the ship began almost immediately after the wreck, but were hampered by insufficient technology.
It took American and French researchers 73 years to find the vessel in 1985, some 12,500 feet below the surface of the ocean. Using cutting-edge sonar imaging technology, the team followed the trail of debris to the site, about 350 miles east of Newfoundland, Canada.
Since there were no remains of the shipwreck, all the scholars left the wreckage of the ship to understand the great maritime disaster.
But even that corpse is in danger of disappearing. A thriving undersea ecosystem is slowly being consumed – and what scientists suspect is mere human greed.
Recently released footage shows the wreckage in the most perfect state we’ll ever see. The ship collapsed forward, the stern deck folded in on itself, and its gymnasium collapsed. The cornice’s nest and the captain’s bath have completely disappeared.
Concern for the spoils inspired an international treaty and plans were floated to recover the Titanic radio station.
WHOI said it was an untimely release to mark the 25th anniversary of the film Titanicwhich was re-released in theaters on Valentine’s Day as a testament to the staying power of the culture ship.
While Hollywood movies tend to elicit emotions (read: tears), a new area of ocean feet has yet to be broken, according to Titanic James Cameron
“More than a century after the loss of the Titanic, the human story on the great ship has begun to resonate,” Cameron said in a press release. “By releasing this footage, WHO is helping to tell a huge part of the story that the group spans generations and circles.”
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