Titanic discoverer: The wreckage must be saved

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PHOENIX -- One hundred years ago this month, Titanic, known as the "unsinkable ship" hit an iceberg while on her maiden voyage. A few short hours later, the ship was at the bottom of the North Atlantic Ocean and more than 1,500 people -- nearly 70 percent of those aboard the ill-fated ship -- were dead. Just 710 people survived.

While it was known where Titanic went down, the wreckage was not discovered until the summer of 1985 -- 73 years after the sinking. She sits in two pieces about a third of a mile apart at a depth of nearly 12,500 feet. Her remains are slowly disintegrating and before long, there will be nothing left.

Dr. Robert (Bob) Ballard, the man who led the team that discovered the wreckage of Titanic, says we cannot allow that to happen.

Ballard is part of a new National Geographic Channel show that shares a new look at the passengers and what happened the night Titanic sank, explaining why it is so important to save what's left of the ship.

"As evidence mounts that the ship is under siege by natural forces, careless visitors and even rogue salvage operators, the man who found it teams with the families of victims and survivors to protect the legacy of history’s most famous ship," reads the National Geographic website.

"We don't mind people visiting the Titanic, but we don't want them destroy it in the process of visiting it," Ballard explained to 3TVs Kaley O'Kelley. "... [T]he ship needs to be treated in a respectful way.

"You're not going to bring it [Titanic] up, but you can take steps to conserve it and protect it on location." he continued. "Just like you would preserve any historical site on land, you don't let it rot. There's no reason to let the Titanic rot."

"Save the Titanic with Bob Ballard" premieres Monday, April 9 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on the National Geographic Channel.