Sunken Ship Salvage Given Up as Titanic Falls to Ocean Bottom

Article excerpt

A commercial expedition to raise part of the Titanic ended in failure just after midnight Friday morning when the nylon lines parted and a 21-ton section of the hull sank back 2 1/2 miles to the Atlantic floor where it had lain for 84 years.

With food running low, the seas rising, and the expedition members exhausted, the $5 million salvage operation was abandoned, perhaps to resume next summer.

"The Titanic's not easy to bring home," lamented George Tulloch, president of the expedition's sponsor, RMS Titanic Inc.

The salvagers had used a French minisub to attach heavy nylon lines to portholes in the 24-by-16 foot fragment of hull. Then giant flotation balloons filled with diesel fuel, which floats on water, were used to lift the 24-by-16-foot piece, but because of rough seas, they were unable to pull it all the way up, organizers said. The hull section never actually broke the surface; it was 200 feet down when it broke loose from the balloons and returned to the ocean floor.

An RMS Titanic spokesman in Boston said it was unclear why the lines broke. However, organizers acknowledged that the hull section turned out to be far heavier than the 13 to 15 tons it was thought to weigh. Also, some of the balloons burst, one spokesman said.

The Titanic, then the biggest ocean liner in the world, sank on April 14, 1912, after striking an iceberg on its maiden voyage from England to New York. More than 1,500 of the 2,200 passengers and crew died, many of them rich and prominent Americans. …