Louisiana Digital News

USS Kidd museum director could play key role in uncovering new revelations from Titanic’s wreckage


BATON ROUGE – Docked on the banks of the Mississippi River is the USS Kidd, and the man in charge of the WWII-era destroyer’s museum, Parks Stephenson, has a new task at hand.

“I know that we’re going to be looking at this model, to see how it draws together all of the information we have gathered since the wreck was first discovered in 1985,” Stephenson said.

Stephenson will help analyze a new 3D scan of the Titanic wreck site.

“This is not your usual oh you haven’t seen the Titanic like this before, no you have not seen the Titanic like this before, and it is going to kick off a whole new field of research,” Stephenson

Last year, Magellan, a deep sea mapping company, and Atlantic productions teamed up and spent more than 200 hours surveying the wreckage site, which is three-by-five miles wide. Stephenson says the 3D image they got from that trip will help tell the real story of what happened on April 15, 1912.

“Before, you couldn’t really trust the evidence because you were dealing with human interpretation. Now we are dealing with strictly data,” Stephenson said.

Other images in the past only covered bits and pieces of the wreck or were recreated.

“I can work off of objective evidence, instead of subjective evidence. Which means my conclusion should be more accurate on how the ship broke apart and sank,” Stephenson said.

For years, the theory has been that the Titanic hit the iceberg from the side. But, according to Stephenson, the new images could suggest something different.

“Titanic never even really hit the iceberg. That she actually ran over a submerged shelf of it. I’m going to be looking at this photogrammetry model to see if the condition of the hull, in certain areas, that might be involved in the grounding event, whether that’s present or not,” Stephenson said.

Stephenson has worked on Titanic research in the past, including diving down to the site multiple times. That peaked his interest into other shipwrecks, including the USS Kidd’s sister ship.

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