Titanic: Journey to the bottom of the ocean

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At 23:40 on Sunday 14 April 1912 - 100 years ago - the Titanic was just a few days into its maiden voyage when a lookout delivered the fateful message: "Iceberg, right ahead."

Moments later, the passenger liner struck the iceberg, tearing a series of holes in its hull. Within three hours, the ship would be resting at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, at a cost of 1,517 lives.

Scroll to explore the wreck on the ocean floor

Titanic guide
  • 600m
  • 2340 - Titanic hits iceberg

    Within minutes of the collision, the ship has taken on thousands of tonnes of seawater. The vessel's architect, Thomas Andrews, inspects the damage and determines that five of the ship's 16 watertight compartments are flooding and that it will sink.

  • 0030 - Lifeboats are lowered

    Captain Edward J Smith issues instructions to launch the lifeboats. At 0040, the first is launched, with women and children boarding first. Although there are enough for more than 1,000 people, many are lowered into the water half full.

  • 0210 - Ship's lights go out

    Titanic's bow becomes completely submerged and the stern begins to lift out of the water. Eighteen of the 20 lifeboats have so far been launched and the ship's lights finally go out.

  • 0217 - Titanic breaks in two

    The stern steadily rises out of the sea, revealing the ship's three huge propellers. The hull is unable to withstand the enormous strain and snaps between the third and fourth funnels.

  • 0219 - Bow begins to sink

    The bow disappears beneath the waves and begins its descent. The stern remains on the surface, but it rapidly begins to sink as water rushes into the engine rooms.

  • 0220 - Stern corkscrews to sea bed

    The stern fills with water and lurches forward, then rears up and begins to plummet, spilling the ship's cargo. It quickly picks up speed and begins to corkscrew to the sea bed.

  • 0222 - Bow reaches ocean floor

    The bow glides towards the bottom, reaching speeds of between 25mph and 40mph (40-60km/h). It eventually ploughs into the sea bed, causing the hull to buckle on impact.

  • 0224 - Wreck comes to rest

    The stern reaches speeds of 60mph (100km/h), slamming into the sea bed propellers first, about 2,000ft (600m) away from the bow. The hull bends and cracks along its entire length. The decks collapse from the impact of the following slipstream of water.

Explore the wreck of the Titanic

The wreck of the Titanic remains at the bottom of the Atlantic, where it is disintegrating at a depth of almost 4,000m. Click on the videos below to see the ship's buckled hull, the cable that may have carried the iceberg warning to the bridge, the grand staircase and the captain's bath, as well as the damage caused by rust-eating microbes.

Depth Scale

40-50m - Limit for scuba divers
1,000 (3,281ft)
Maximum depth sunlight penetrates
2,000m
2,438 (8,000ft)
Operating depth of the oil rig Deepwater Horizon
3,000m
4,000m Sea bed
Paintings © Ken Marschall

Placeholder

Captain's bath
See the gleaming white bath in Captain Smith's quarters and look down into what remains of one of Titanic's grand staircases. With commentary from BBC reporter Mike McKimm and diver Rory Golden.
Impact on the sea bed
The detailed story of how the ship hit the sea bed, causing it to buckle. With commentary from BBC reporter Mike McKimm and diver Rory Golden.
Mast and radio room
See the forward mast and the remains of the crow's nest - from where the iceberg warning was sent to the bridge. With commentary from BBC reporter Mike McKimm and diver Rory Golden.
Microbes and 'rusticles'
See how microbes are threatening the future of the ship. With commentary from BBC reporter Mike McKimm and diver Rory Golden.

Note: Artist's impression not to scale. Bow and stern lie approximately 600m apart on the seabed.

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