Explorer Who Discovered Titanic Wreck Visits Stateline

By: Rebecca Burlette
By: Rebecca Burlette

Dr. Robert Ballard is an explorer best known for discovering the wreck of the Titanic, but his adventures have brought him to the stateline.

Ballard was in Beloit on Friday accepting an award for his work and explorations.

It's Ballard's passion that has taken him all around the world and into the depths of the ocean where he discovered the remains of Titanic on September 1, 1985. Ballard says it was in the 11th hour they discovered the sunken ship bringing mixed emotions.
“We were all yelling and screaming, jumping up and down then someone in the control van said she sinks in 20 minutes because it was two in the morning and she sank at 2:30 and when we thought, ‘oh my gosh we're dancing on their grave,’ and then we went from a high to a low,” said Ballard.

Ballard and a team of explorers used robots to discover Titanic, first seeing the stern of the ship. Despite the ships large presence on the ocean floor the dark waters made it difficult to see.

“We rose up above to the water line and there were hundreds of portholes. They were like the faces some of them were open and they were like the people the faces of the dead looking at you. It was very haunting,” said Ballard.

While many of us will never get to experience seeing the Titanic up close Ballard says in the future we'll all be able to travel there electronically.

“Within 10 years most interesting places on the earth will be wired and you'll be less than a quarter of a second away from them” said Ballard.

Until that time comes, Ballard says he will continue his journeys seeking the truth and then bringing it back to share with all of us.

Ballard was honored Friday afternoon with the Roy Chapman Andrews Distinguished Explorer Award. The award named after a former Beloit student honors his legacy and the value of scientific exploration.


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