Expert to take Titanic wreck photos
The man who discovered the wreck of the Titanic is to return to its final resting place to capture fresh images of the ship for a new £100 million visitor attraction in Belfast.
Dr Robert Ballard will journey two-and-a-half miles to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean next month to film the mangled stern section, which broke off from the rest of the liner as she sank on her maiden voyage in 1912.
His footage will enable Belfast's Titanic Signature Project, which is under construction in the same docklands where the ship was built, to show visitors the first complete image of the wreck which Dr Ballard discovered in 1985.
Details of the underwater venture emerged as the team building the project - which will be the world's largest Titanic attraction - briefly opened its doors to show off progress to date.
Live streamed pictures of all future submarine trips to the wreck will also be broadcast in the centre from April next year when it opens just ahead of the 100th anniversary of the sinking.
Project manager Noel Molloy said the underwater map was only one unique feature of many set to be housed in the eye-catching white-panelled building, which is modelled on the Titanic's bow.
"The Titanic broke in two before she went down," he said. "There's always been that debate, did she or did she not, but Dr Ballard found it in two sections so it did break down.
"So there is this other section, but whatever way that section hit the ocean bed it just absolutely smashed it, so nobody's ever really done a (photo) mosaic of that. Dr Ballard is going down for us because it's not complete."
The centre compromises nine separate galleries, each telling a different part of the Titanic story from the Harland and Wolff shipyard to the disaster that claimed more than 1,500 lives to its eventual re-discovery 70 years later.
The experience will see visitors flown through parts of the exhibition on a specially-constructed sky rail system in 12 six-people pods.