Robert Ballard’s Emotional Reaction When Finding The Titanic
On This Day: September 1, 1985, at 1:40 a.m. — Robert Ballard discovers the Remains Of The R.M.S. Titanic
Facts & Information:
The Titanic was built by Harland-Wolff in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Built by Harland-Wolff
1901 – the Celtic
1904 – the Baltic
1907 – the Adriatic
Each ship was larger than its predecessor.
The Gigantic / renamed The Britannic
. . . . were three sister ships.
Initial Building: May 31, 1911
Finished: April 2, 2012
Maiden Voyage: April 10, 2012
In-service: Five Days!
Sank to the bottom of the Atlantic in 2 hours and 40 minutes
“Not even God himself could sink this ship” is what was reportedly said by some crew members and repeated by others in different ways.
The Titanic had enough lifeboat capacity for 1,178 people — 3,511 people were aboard.
The change in the requirement of available lifeboats on board was due to the invention of the Marconi wireless radio, which was believed to be able to shorten the time necessary to effect a rescue by other ships in the area.
Captain: Edward John Smith
Sunk to the bottom of the Atlantic on its Maiden Voyage.
Approximately 1,522 people died due to the iceberg collision of the Titanic.
It was approximately 2:20 am on the morning of April 15, 1912, that the Titanic plunged to the bottom of the Atlantic — around the same time of day that it was discovered.
Before that date, no one had seen any wreckage of the Titanic for 73 years.
Robert Ballard: Age 76 as of 2019
Retired U.S. Naval Officer
Professor of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island
Also discovered the WWII battleship the Bismark – in 1989
Also discovered the USS Yorktown – in 1998
Also discovered the wreck of the John F. Kennedy’s PT-109 – in 2002
His project / search was financially supported by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.
Aboard the U.S. Navy research vessel — Knorr.
Using the latest underwater robotic camera units — the Argo and Angus
After months of searching the ocean’s bottom.
Relaxing in his room in his flannel pajamas, reading a book.
Johnny (the cook) bursts into Ballard’s room and announces that they think they found it!.
“Argo” was beaming back pictures of what was identified as a “man-made object” which was stationary on the floor of the ocean.
That first object turned out to be a boiler from the engine room of the Titanic.
The next objects were copper cooking pots, steel cooking pans, tools, corked wine bottles, fine china, coal and well-preserved articles of clothing.
One of the reasons for such preservation of these objects was the depth and the temperature of the water at that depth.
Robert Ballard’s own words about its impact on him.
“I never thought I’d go crazy over it. And sometimes I think I did go a little crazy. Finding the ship, O did not expect it to hit me in such a tragic sense. I did not expect to feel the disaster to the level I felt it. I was in tears. I must have looked like a real crybaby. I just — I was really depressed. And believe me, I never expected that. I expected it to be the exact opposite. Instead, I wanted to run away from the Titanic. I wanted it out of my life. I didn’t want to see a soul, to talk to a soul about the Titanic. I just . . . . I haven’t told these things to anyone outside my family. I still don’t want to talk about it for some odd reason — very painful. I can’t explain it, I just — I . . . can. . . remember the reactions.” — sabella – pgs 27-28
50,000 pictures were taken.
100 hours of video was recorded
Key Illustrative Thoughts:
• shaken by the loss of human life
• The Titanic: a prophetic warning to men’s limitations
• on course for a disaster
• never say never
• human arrogance / pride
• it started out as a normal day
• confidence in science / technology
• providential collisions
• lost — at sea
• say not today or tomorrow we will do this or that
• An age of over-confidence
• False confidence
“The Titanic” – a metaphor for disaster
• Too few lifeboats on board
• If you knew what you know right now.
Other Information & Links:
“When the French ship was recalled, Ballard transferred onto a ship from Woods Hole, the R/V Knorr. Unbeknownst to some, this trip was financed by the U.S. Navy for secret reconnaissance of the wreckage of two Navy nuclear powered attack submarines, the USS Scorpion and the USS Thresher, which sank in the 1960s, and not for Titanic. Back in 1982, Ballard approached the Navy about his new deep sea underwater robot craft, the Argo, and his search for Titanic. The Navy was not interested in financing the search for the large ocean liner. However, they were interested in finding out what happened to their missing submarines and ultimately concluded that Argo was their best chance to do so. The Navy agreed it would finance Ballard’s Titanic search only if he first searched for and investigated the two sunken submarines, and found out the state of their nuclear reactors after being submerged for such a long time, and whether their radioactivity was impacting the environment. Ballard was placed on temporary active duty in the Navy, in charge of finding and investigating the wrecks. After the two missions were completed, time and funding permitting, Ballard was free to use resources to hunt for Titanic.” — reddit
“The story of the ‘unsinkable’ Titanic that plunged into the Atlantic in 1912 has fascinated researchers for years, but now new details have emerged about the 1985 discovery of the wreckage.
It’s been revealed that the expedition that led to the discovery of the ship was a cover for a top-secret mission to explore two submarines that sank during the Cold War.
The details of the mission are laid out in a new exhibit ‘Titanic: The Untold Story’ that opened Wednesday at the National Geographic Museum in Washington DC.” — daily mail
Book: “Titanic Warning,” by Casey Sabella
Book: Titanic: The HMS Hawke, The SS New York, & Captain Smith