September 1, 1985: ‘Titanic’ wreckage discovered
People have been fascinated by the RMS Titanic since it sunk into the North Atlantic Ocean waters on April 15, 1912. Since its sinking on that fateful day, explorers searched for the ship’s remains on the ocean floor. Finally, 73 years later on September 1, 1985, a joint U.S.-French expedition successfully located the ship’s wreckage. But what did they discover?
About the sinking
Most people know the story of the sinking of the RMS Titanic, but for many individuals, they’re eager to learn new information regarding the ship’s maiden voyage. At 11:40 PM on April 14, 1912, lookout Frederick Fleet spotted an iceberg immediately ahead of the ship. First Officer William Murdoch ordered the ship to be steered away from the obstacle, but it was too late. The ship’s starboard side struck the iceberg, causing a series of holes below the waterline. Water immediately began to seep into the ship. It soon became clear that the ship was doomed.
Those aboard the RMS Titanic were ill-prepared for the emergency. The ship only had enough lifeboats to carry about half of its passengers to safety. Third-class passengers were left to fend for themselves. The famous “women and children first” protocol was used for loading the available lifeboats. More than half of the ship’s passengers were left aboard. At 2:20 AM on April 15, 1912, the ship finally sank, and over 1,500 passengers died in the North Atlantic Ocean.
Finding the wreckage
In 1985, American Robert D. Ballard headed the expedition to find the wreckage of the RMS Titanic. He used an experimental, unmanned submersible, Argo, developed by the U.S. Navy to accurately search for the famous ocean liner. The Argo sent photographs up to the research vessel, Knorr. In the early morning of September 1, Argo was investigating debris on the ocean floor when it passed over one of the RMS Titanic’s boilers, lying at a depth of about 13,000 feet below the ocean’s surface. The mission was complete and the discovery helped historians and explorers uncover new clues about the 1912 sinking.