Does Titanic wreck still hold human remains? Quest for famous ship radio stirs debate

NORFOLK, Va. People have been diving to the Titanics wreck for 35 years. No one has found human remains, according to the company that owns the salvage rights.

But the companys plan to retrieve the ships iconic radio equipment has sparked a debate: Could the worlds most famous shipwreck still hold remains of passengers and crew who died a century ago?

Lawyers for the U.S. government have raised that question in an ongoing court battle to block the planned expedition. They cite archaeologists who say remains could still be there. And they say the company fails to consider the prospect in its dive plan.

Fifteen hundred people died in that wreck, said Paul Johnston, curator of maritime history at the Smithsonians National Museum of American History. You cant possibly tell me that some human remains arent buried deep somewhere where there are no currents.

The company, RMS Titanic Inc., wants to exhibit the ships Marconi wireless telegraph machine. It broadcast the sinking ocean liners distress calls and helped save about 700 people in lifeboats.

Retrieving the equipment would require an unmanned submersible to slip through a skylight or cut into a heavily corroded roof on the ships deck. A suction dredge would remove loose silt, while manipulator arms could cut electrical cords.

RMS Titanic Inc. says human remains likely wouldve been noticed after roughly 200 dives.

This 2004 image provided by the University of Rhode Island's Institute for Exploration and Center for Archaeological Ocea....

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