RETURNING TO THE SEA: New video shows Titanic deteriorating rapidly

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LONDON, England (KETK) – The North Atlantic Ocean first claimed the legendary ship RMS Titanic more than 100 years ago when the “unsinkable” luxury liner slipped beneath the water on April 14, 1912.

Now new video from a team of deep-sea explorers shows the frigid ocean rapidly devouring the wreckage, claiming the “ship of dreams” for a second, and final, time.

RMS Titanic passenger liner of the White Star Line. From The Story of 25 Eventful Years in Pictures, published 1935. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

The team, led by explorer and Dallas native Victor Vescovo, Titanic expert Parks Stephenson, expedition leader Rob McCallum (EYOS Expeditions), and a technical team from Triton Submarines surveyed the wreck in early August.

It was the first visit to the ship’s remains in some 14 years. And the explorers say they were taken aback by the extent of the ship’s deterioration since the last time the wreck was surveyed.

Titanic rests at a depth of about 12,500 feet off the coast of Newfoundland in Canada. Explorers who have visited her in the past and brought back video and photos have shown her broken into two pieces and surrounded by debris strewn across the ocean floor, but, despite damage from her fatal collision with an iceberg, remarkably well preserved.

That has changed, and to a stunning degree, over the past 14 years.

The video footage, filmed by Atlantic Productions, shows the ship almost entirely covered in deep-sea bacteria that are devouring the rusted metal. The ship also being is eroded by deep-sea currents and eddies as well as salt corrosion.

The worst of the damage so far is on the starboard side of the officers’ quarters. The hull there has started to collapse, taking the staterooms with it. The porcelain bathtub used by Captain Edward Smith, who went down with the liner, and photos of which which has become so popular among Titanic “fans,” has disappeared.

The captain’s bathtub – photographed here during a 1996 expedition – has now gone. (Getty Images)

The rest of the ship will inevitably follow, though how soon is anyone’s guess. All that will remain will be a rust stain on the bottom of the Atlantic, the story of the wreck in newspaper clippings, books and old newsreel footage, items salvaged from the wreck site and now housed in museums, and new dramatizations from the minds of artists, writers, playwrights and screenwriters.

In anticipation of that inevitable loss, and to pay homage to the one suffered more than 100 years ago, expedition members laid a wreath and held a ceremony in honor of those who died on that cold and fateful night in 1912.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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