Unearthed footage from 1986 shows first-time Titanic wreck was seen

On April 10, 1912, the “unsinkable ship” set off on its maiden voyage from Southampton, Hants, only to end in total disaster four days later. After colliding with an iceberg, the Titanic descended into the depths of the Atlantic Ocean, with some 1,500 lives taken with her. It took more than 70 years for researchers to find her again, using the best technology at the time to capture videos of the wreckage. Now, more than a century after the tragedy shook the world, the first video of the Titanic ever captured has been released to the public for the first time.

RMS Titanic has long fascinated the public and film directors, inspiring James Cameron’s 1997 blockbuster about a fictional love story taking place on the ship starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.

The footage has been released to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the hit film’s release, which has been remastered and rereleased in cinemas.

The eerie video shows the camera looking into windows, crawling along the deck with the decrepit railings visible, and shining a light on the rusted remains of the luxury liner which lies some 2.5 miles below.

The hour-and-a-half-long video of “rare” footage was posted on the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s (WHOI) YouTube and shows the shots captured over 11 dives in 1986.

It was the WHOI along with France’s Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea which discovered the wreckage in 1985.

Using some of the most sophisticated underwater vehicles, namely Argo, the camera sled, Alvin, the three-person submersible and Jason Jr. a remotely operated vehicle was able to look closely at the ship’s wreckage.

Mr Cameron, who has long been fascinated by shipwrecks, said in a statement: “Like many, I was transfixed when Alvin and Jason Jr. ventured down to and inside the wreck.

“By releasing this footage, WHOI is helping tell an important part of a story that spans generations and circles the globe.”

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The footage of the expedition, led by Robert Ballard, helped inspire the film with the majority of the underwater shots featured in Titanic real pictures.

Mr Cameron himself ventured down to see the wreckage which now lies off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada, 12 times to capture authentic shots for the film.

There were attempts to find the ship immediately after its sinking some 111 years ago, but it was delayed for several decades due to technical issues, costs, and the difficult conditions and huge size of the North Atlantic Ocean.

The ship, built in Belfast, Northern Ireland, was famously described as “unsinkable” by Philip Franklin, the White Star Line vice-president in 1912.

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Mr Franklin, who based his opinion on the expert advice of the time, famously said: “There is no danger that Titanic will sink. The boat is unsinkable and nothing but inconvenience will be suffered by the passengers.”

But at around 11pm on April 14, 1912, a 400ft long iceberg was spotted too late when the ship was traveling to New York at almost full speed in order to “make the headlines”.

It then did the exact opposite of Mr Franklin’s prediction, sinking just two hours and 40 minutes later after it collided with the iceberg in the early hours of April 15, wiping out some 70 percent of the passengers and crew in the process.

The wreckage is now deteriorating rapidly and it is thought that the remnants of the luxury ship could disappear entirely within the next 40 years.

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