Titanic photo shows evidence of human remains
A newly released photo from the North Atlantic site of the shipwrecked RMS Titanic shows evidence of human remains, federal officials are saying.
In observance of the 100th anniversary of the ship's sinking, a 2004 image was
reissued to the public in an uncropped version, which shows a coat and
boots buried in the mud at the site two-and-a-half miles below the
ocean's surface, where the legendary passenger liner now lies.
Word of the new photo caused Yahoo! searches to surge on "titanic remains," "real titanic pictures underwater," and "titanic may hold passengers."
Dr. James P. Delgado, the director of the Maritime Heritage Museum
at the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration told Yahoo News
over the phone that the way the boots are placed together makes a
"compelling case" that they belonged to a body.
The scientist, who was responsible for mapping the shipwreck during a 2010 expedition for NOAA,
says that the image was rereleased in its full form (it was originally
published to show only one boot) to serve as a reminder that the ship
is an "underwater resting place" and needs to be better protected and
The newly published image was
first reported by the New York Times—which also noted that not all
Titanic experts agree there are bodies at the site of the wreckage,
first discovered in 1985. James Cameron, who directed the movie "Titanic,"
and has explored the site multiple times, said he's never seen human
remains: "We've seen shoes. We've seen pairs of shoes, which would
strongly suggest there was a body there at one point. But we've never
seen any human remains."
Delgado said that the issue is
more one of "semantics." The researcher said of Cameron, "He's seen the
pairs of shoes and clothing that's down there, and so when he sees that,
perhaps he's not seeing what we see as archeologists." He added, "When I
see shoes together I see someone who came to rest." Delgado added that
when Titanic finder Robert Ballard first showed the photo in 2004, "the room went silent." He said the explorers who looked at it could tell it had once been a lost soul from the ship.
A bill introduced
by Sen. John Kerry would amend the Titanic Maritime Memorial Act of
1986 to protect the wreck from salvage and intrusive research. But since
the ocean liner sank in international waters after hitting an iceberg
on April 14, 1912, there are limits to what the U.S. can do.
One thing that is in Delgado's
power: to raise awareness of the undersea site, which he believes
should be treated as a museum—and as hallowed ground. Noting that many
of the ship's passengers were on their way to the U.S. to become
American citizens, he said,"There are some places that are so special we
should take a different approach. "
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