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April 4, 2012

Complete map of Titanic debris field provides new clues

(Continued)

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine —

"This is quite a significant map," he said. "It's quite a significant advance in the technology and the way it's done."

At Lone Wolf Documentary Group in South Portland, producers are putting the final touches on the History documentary. Rushmore DeNooyer, the co-producer and writer of the show, points out the different items on the map, displayed on a screen.

They include a huge tangle of the remains of a deckhouse; a large chunk of the side of the ship measuring more than 60 feet long and weighing more than 40 tons; pieces of the ship's bottom; and a hatch cover that blew off of the bow section as it crashed to the bottom. Other items include five of the ship's huge boilers, a revolving door and even a lightning rod from a mast.

By examining the debris, investigators can now answer questions like how the ship broke apart, how it went down and whether there was a fatal flaw in the design, he said.

The layout of the wreck site and where the pieces landed provide new clues on exactly what happened. Computer simulations will re-enact the sinking in reverse, bringing the wreckage debris back to the surface and reassembled.

Some of those questions will be answered on the show, said Dirk Hoogstra, a senior vice president at History. He declined to say ahead of the show what new theories are being put forth on the sinking.

"We've got this vision of the entire wreck that no one has ever seen before," he said. "Because we have, we're going to be able to reconstruct exactly how the wreck happened. It's groundbreaking, jaw-dropping stuff."

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