Oceanographer Dr. Robert Ballard, made famous for discovering the wreck of the Titanic in 1985, also located JFK‘s PT Boat which sunk near the Solomon Islands in 1943.
Today, April 14, 2012, marks the 100 year anniversary of the tragic accident on board legendary luxury liner, Titanic. At approximately 11:40 pm, the colossal ship struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic, delivering a fatal blow to the White Star Line’s “unsinkable” flagship. The mighty behemoth sank 2 hours and 40 minutes later.
Titanic carried a wide range of passengers, from society’s filthy rich to poor immigrants looking to make a new life in America. With lifeboats for only half the ship’s capacity, coupled with freezing water, just one-third of those on board survived the terrible disaster.
In 1985, Robert Ballard led an expedition that found the wreckage of Titanic. He is strongly opposed to the retrieval of artifacts from this gravesite. He feels that the debris field should be protected like the battlefield at Gettysburg. In his words, “You don’t go to Gettysburg with a shovel.”
In a surprising twist, Ballard is also connected with the 35th president of the United States, John F. Kennedy.
During World War II, the lieutenant and future American commander-in-chief was patrolling the seas near the Solomon Islands when a Japanese destroyer rammed his PT Boat – PT 109. Two servicemen were killed. Kennedy was awarded with a Navy and Marine Corps Medal for his heroic efforts to help his surviving crewmates to safety.
Robert Ballard discovered Kennedy‘s sunken PT Boat in 2003.
Recently, Ballard has been working with the Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut, where they just unveiled a new exhibit on Titanic. Titanic – 12,450 Feet Below is a simulated underwater immersion that lets you glimpse virtual Titanic wreckage, without disturbing the graves of those who died in the disaster.