Liner's sunken hull looks like museum piece

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The sunken Titanic is intact with a hull ``like a museum piece,'' but any salvage attempts would desecrate the gravesite of the more than 1,500 people who went down with it, the first man to view the wreck said Sept. 3. Robert Ballard, chief scientist of the joint US-French venture that found the oceanliner on Sept. 1, described the remote-control television survey he made of the 73-year-old wreck.

``It's standing upright on the bottom,'' Ballard said in a ship-to-shore telephone conversation with ABC News. ``It appears to be in superb condition. One would expect that, given the fact that we're working in extremely deep water that's ice cold and in total darkness. It's an environment of high preservation.''

TV pictures show the ship lying in a deep ocean canyon.

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The Titanic was the biggest, and supposedly the safest liner of its time. Its builders called it unsinkable because of its double steel hull and waterproof compartments. But an iceberg cut a 300-foot gash across several of the compartments and the ship sank on April 14-15, 1912.

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