World

On this day in history, September 1, 1985, the wreck of the Titanic is found in the North Atlantic

[ad_1]

A 73-year mystery was solved on this day in history, Sept. 1, 1985, when the shipwreck of the ocean liner RMS Titanic was discovered in the North Atlantic. 

The wreck was discovered during a joint mission between the Massachusetts-based Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and the French National Institute of Oceanography (IFREMER), according to the WHOI website. 

The mission was funded by the U.S. Office of Naval Technology. It aimed to “test the abilities of these newly developed underwater imaging systems to locate items on the sea floor,” said the website. 

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY, AUGUST 31, 1888, JACK THE RIPPER CLAIMS HIS FIRST VICTIM

The wreck of the Titanic “provided a high-profile backdrop for the mission.” 

Led by Dr. Robert D. Ballard of WHOI and Jean Louis Michel of IFREMER, the two-part mission initially narrowed the search area to a 100-square-mile patch of the ocean. 

Shipwreck of the Titanic

The shipwreck of the RMS Titanic was found on Sept. 1, 1985. (Mathieu Polak/Sygma/ Sygma via Getty Images)

The first phase of the mission began on July 1, 1985. It consisted of the French team aboard the French research vessel Le Suroit. 

Le Suroit’s crew used a sonar system, the “System Acoustique Remorquè” (an acoustic trailer system), to comb the ocean floor in a “mowing the lawn” pattern. 

“In 1985 there were other sonar systems, but the newly developed SAR was the most sophisticated, providing better quality imagery and creating almost a photograph of the seafloor,” said WHOI. 

Le Suroit spent a month at sea. While her crew did not find the Titanic, they ruled out about 75% of the search area, said WHOI. 

THE TITANIC: FROM DINNER COURSES TO ICEBERG WARNINGS, 10 FASCINATING FACTS ABOUT THE ‘UNSINKABLE’ SHIP

The second phase of the mission to locate the Titanic began on August 15, aboard the research vessel Knorr. 

The team gambled on a radical approach for scanning the remaining search field.

In addition to the American team from WHOI, three French scientists from IFREMER were aboard. 

After a week, the Knorr arrived at the area where the Le Suroit had last looked. 

“With just 12 days of ship time to search, the WHOI team gambled on a radical approach for scanning the remaining search field,” said WHOI. 

Robert Ballard at the microphone

Robert Ballard, oceanographer and a former commander in the United States Navy, pictured here, was one of the leaders of the Franco-American expedition that discovered the shipwreck of the RMS Titanic. (Ira Wyman/Sygma via Getty Images)

Instead of searching for a single large object, such as the Titanic’s hull, the crew of the Knorr used an imaging tool called “ANGUS” (Acoustically Navigated Geological Underwater Survey) along with a sonar/video camera system named “Argo,” to look for any debris that might have come from the Titanic.

This strategy worked: Just after 1 o’clock in the morning on Sept. 1, 1985, the Knorr found one of the Titanic’s boilers, said WHOI’s website. 

The last four days of the voyage involved filming the newly discovered wreck with ANGUS and Argo, the same site added. 

Just over 700 people survived the sinking of the Titanic.

The discovery of the wreck also confirmed anecdotal reports from survivors of the sinking: The ship had indeed split into two pieces as she sank. 

TITANIC: 110 YEARS LATER

The largest ship in the world when she was built, the RMS Titanic sank in the early hours of April 15, 1912, less than three hours after colliding with an iceberg. 

She had been on a voyage from Southampton, England to New York City.

Just over 700 people — less than a third of the total number of crew and passengers — survived the sinking.

The RMS Titanic leaves England

The Titanic was on a voyage from Southampton to New York City when she sank on April 15, 1912. (AP Photo/File)

The survivors of the Titanic were largely divided by class: Only 174 of the 700 third-class passengers survived, said Encyclopedia Britannica.

Conversely, nearly two-thirds of the more than 300 first-class passengers survived, according to the website Titanic Facts. 

The massive death toll of the Titanic was in part due to extremely poor planning and a lack of maritime regulations. 

In response to the tragedy, new safety regulations were adopted for merchant ships. 

The Titanic’s size meant that she was equipped to carry 64 lifeboats — more than enough for the 2,200 passengers and crew on board. 

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR OUR LIFESTYLE NEWSLETTER

However, she was outfitted with only 16 lifeboats, plus an additional four “collapsibles,” said History.com. 

Newsboy holding paper saying Titanic Disaster Great Loss of Life

The sinking of the RMS Titanic was one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in the 20th century.   (Mathieu Polak/Sygma/ Sygma via Getty Images)

The total capacity of those 20 lifeboats was only 1,178 passengers — roughly half the number of people aboard the ship. 

In response to the tragedy, new safety regulations were adopted for merchant ships. 

The first SOLAS, or the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), was a seven-week convention held in London from November 1913 until January 1914. 

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

The treaty outlined new mandatory safety features of ships, including requirements that the ships have enough lifeboats for everyone on board, says the International Maritime Organization website.

[ad_2]

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button