Search and Discovery of Titanic Wreck

The first actual attempt to find the wreck of Titanic was in July 1953, when Risdon Beasley Ltd, a world leading deep sea salvage company, attempted to find the wreck by setting off underwater explosives and then using sonar to record the echo profiles. The attempt was a failure, and despite another search the following year, nothing was found.

The next attempt to actually begin the search, was by Texas millionaire Jack Grimm and film producer Mike Harris, Jack Grimm was already known for known for his failed search for Noah’s Ark , the Loch Ness Monster and Big Foot. Hoping that this search would be more successful, the HJW Fay sailed from Port Everglades, Florida, in July 1980 to find Titanic using side scan sonar technology. Plagued by bad whether, the mission was a failure. They tried again in the summers of 1981 and 1983, again with no luck.

The next and final person to arrange a search was Dr Robert Ballad, who had dreamt of finding Titanic since 1973, and had actually attempted to find the wreck in 1977, using a ship called Alcoa Seaprobe. However due to a mistake resulting in the vital equipment being destroyed, the ship never even left port.

Dr Robert Ballard
Dr Robert Ballard

A joint exhibition between the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Massachusetts, led by Robert Ballad, and the French, Institute Francais de Recherche pour l'Exploitation des Mers (IFREMER), led by Jean Jarry, was organised, and aboard the French ship Le Suroit the search began when they arrived in the search area on 5th July 1985.

Onboard Le Suroit side scanning sonar was used to try to find Titanic, however, by the time the ship had to leave for other projects, nothing had been found. At this point the search was transferred to the Woods Hole research ship Knorr. Onboard Knorr, rather than using sonar, a visual search using Argo an underwater camera vehicle was used, with the intension of finding the debris field that would have been left when Titanic sank.

With time almost up and the team starting to give up hope of ever finding Titanic. Shortly after midnight on 1st September 1985, bits of man made object started to appear on the search screen, and at1.05am a massive boiler was sighted, at this point the team had no doubt that they had found Titanic. Soon after this the bow of the ship was found, finally answering the question of did Titanic break in half as she sank.

Titanic Wreck
The Bow of Titanic

Robert Ballad returned a year later to explore the wreck using a submersible and a remote camera vehicle.

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