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Why are people so fascinated with the Titanic?

Since 1912, the story of the Titanic and the more than 2,200 people on board has spawned numerous books, films, TV dramas, documentaries, and more.
Posted at 3:36 PM, Jun 21, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-21 15:36:52-04

For more than a century, the tragedy of the so-called "unsinkable" Titanic has captured the curiosity of history buffs, storytellers and those adventurous enough to see the wreckage up close.

Since 1912, when the luxury steamship and more than 2,200 of its passengers sank off the coast of Newfoundland, the story of the Titanic has been retold in books, TV dramas and documentaries, and feature films like James Cameron's Oscar-winning "Titanic."

"The message of 'Titanic' is of course is that if the great ship can sink, the unthinkable can happen, the future is unknowable, the only thing that we truly own is today," Cameron said while accepting the Academy Award for Best Picture.

A digital image of the Titanic is shown.

Digital scan of Titanic shipwreck reveals never-before-seen details

A scanning project is showing the full picture of the underwater Titanic wreck like never before.


For filmmakers like Cameron, the Titanic was a story about hubris. And for writers like Walter Lord, who wrote the 1955 classic "A Night To Remember," the sinking "marked the end of a general feeling of confidence."

Passengers on the ship included socialites, movie stars, and the heirs to the richest families in the world.

The Titanic itself was a technical feat — promoted as the largest and fastest ship of its time. And it was those boastful origins that helped catapult the ship's eventual tragedy into the modern fascination that continues today.

"It's really incredible. Next year or the year after, we're hoping to send a small robot inside. But right now, we stay on the outside," said Stockton Rush, CEO of OceanGate, during an interview earlier this year with Sky News.

In this photo released by Action Aviation, the submersible Titan is prepared for a dive

Who are the people aboard the missing Titanic submersible?

The missing submersible carried five people, including a pilot, a French explorer, a British businessman and two members of a Pakistani family.


The shipwreck was discovered in 1985, and since then, several manned expeditions have gone to survey the decaying ship — buried a dangerous two miles underwater.

"You can see inside. In fact, we dip down into where the grand staircase was. We saw some of the chandeliers that were still hanging," Rush said in February. 

OceanGate Expeditions is the company at the center of the lost submersible "Titan" carrying five people, including Rush, to see the Titanic's wreckage.

The journey cost $250,000 a ticket — a quarter million-dollar trip to see with their own eyes an underwater icon that has fascinated folks for more than a century.