Titanic: 'Haunting' new footage shows moment divers visited wreckage for first time in 1986

Footage never shown to the public of the Titanic wreckage has now been released

Footage from the first time divers visited the Titanic wreckage in 1986 has been released by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) on Wednesday.

Over 80 minutes of never-before-seen footage of the dive, led by Robert Ballard, shows the underwater wreckage of the Titanic on the floor of the North Atlantic Ocean.

The giant liner sank on her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City in the early hours of the morning on 15th April 1912, claiming roughly 1,500 lives.

The footage has been released to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the release of James Cameron's award-winning film, Titanic.

The Titanic sails out of Southampton on April 10th 1912. Credit: PA

Using a towed underwater camera, the WHOI team and a French oceanographic exploration organisation discovered the final resting place of the ship around 4,000 metres deep in 1985. The newly-released footage was from a return expedition the following year.

In 1986, the crew of Alvin, the three-person submersible, headed to the surface and as it rose, Mr Ballard saw the Titanic's portholes.

Ballard said he did not see any flesh and bones, but he saw shoes - including footwear that appeared to have belonged to a mother and baby that looked like tombstones on the ocean floor.

He said he went through the wide range of emotions during the 1985 mission.There had been previous attempts to find the wreck, but the 1985 discovery and 1986 trip were made possible due to sophiscated underwater submarines that could withstand the depths of where the wreckage was found.

Credit: AP

The footage has been released to coincide with the 25th anniversary release on February 10 of the remastered version of the Academy Award-winning movie, Titanic.

“More than a century after the loss of Titanic, the human stories embodied in the great ship continue to resonate,” James Cameron, the film's director, said in a statement.

Cameron added that by releasing the footage, "WHOI is helping tell an important part of a story that spans generations and circles the globe.”

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