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Last Updated: Saturday, 10 July 2004, 11:16 GMT 12:16 UK
Titanic rescue ship to be filmed
Richard Stevenson Picture courtesy of Deep Blue Diving
Diver Richard Stevenson is leading the team
A team of divers hope to bring back the first video footage from the wreck of a ship which rescued more than 700 survivors from the Belfast-built Titanic.

RMS Carpathia, which picked up 705 survivors as the Titanic went down in 1912, was herself sunk six years later by a German U-boat.

Her wreck lies 500ft down in the Atlantic, 300 miles west of Plymouth and 160 miles south-east of Ireland.

Now Richard Stevenson from Plymouth and

his 13-man team are to film the wreck.

Without Carpathia and her skipper, Captain Arthur Rostron, there would have been no survivors from the Titanic, which was built at Harland & Wolff shipyard in east Belfast.

The Titanic sank on 14 April 1912, after hitting an iceberg on its maiden voyage. More than 1,500 people lost their lives, while more than 700 passengers and crew were rescued.

Five people were killed in the sinking of the Carpathia in July 1918, which came 15 years after the ill-fated Titanic embarked on her maiden voyage.

The site of her wreck was discovered by US divers five years ago.

Then, in 2001, a team of divers led by Mr Stevenson, of Plymouth-based Deep Blue Diving, managed to reach the wreck and retrieve some small items.

But due to technical reasons, it was not possible to bring back video footage of the wreck.

Mr Stevenson and his team are leaving Mount Batten in Plymouth on Saturday for a return visit to the wreck.

During the 11-day dive, they hope to explore and document the ship, and locate historical items.

The role of the Carpathia is often forgotten in the Titanic story, so if we can help provide a new angle to the story, that would be great
Carl Spencer, diver
The mission is being backed by RMS Titanic Inc, which owns the wreck.

The company is hoping the divers will be able to raise the Carpathia nameplate from the bow, as well as a special cup awarded to the Carpathia and her captain by the survivors of the Titanic.

Ground-breaking diver technology is needed for the dive, because of the depth and position of the ship.

Mr Stevenson, 34, has taken part in several high-profile exploration dives in the past 10 years and said this was an exciting venture.

"We're all built up for it, and the exploration is well prepared - we're now keeping our fingers crossed the weather will be okay.

Well timed

"I wouldn't say it's dangerous because we are all experienced divers. Having said that, we'll be 300 miles into the Atlantic."

There are nine divers and four support members in the team. Most are from the UK, but there are also expert divers from Italy and South Africa.

One of the divers, Carl Spencer, said next year was the 20th anniversary of the Titanic being discovered, so the dive was well timed.

"The role of the Carpathia is often forgotten in the Titanic story, so if we can help provide a new angle to the story, that would be great," he said.

Divers will only be able to spend a maximum of 24 minutes on the wreck and the ascent and decompression will take more than seven hours, making it one of the most dangerous expeditions carried out.

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