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Ultrasound reveals image of sunken Russian Cruise Liner


Lantern Swinger
From today's Telegraph.

Ultrasound scanner reveals ghostly image of sunken Russian cruise liner
By Paul Chapman in Wellington
(Filed: 17/02/2006)

A ghostly image of a sunken Russian cruise liner appeared when a government official dangled his ultrasound machine overboard for entertainment after a day's work scanning mussel beds off the coast of New Zealand.

The images - obtained using the same ultrasound technology that hospitals use to examine pregnant women - show the Mikhail Lermontov, once the pride of the Soviet Union's cruise ship fleet, which hit a rock in the Marlborough Sounds, on the South Island side of Cook Strait, and sank on Feb 16, 1986.

The ghostly ultrasound image of the sunken liner

The spectral images show the ship, the largest liner to sink since the Titanic in 1912, lying on its starboard side, and surprisingly intact. Specks of light in the foreground are fish.

"I couldn't believe what I was seeing," Ken Grange, of the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, a New Zealand government scientific agency, told The Daily Telegraph.

"It was the end of the day, and just before going for a beer I tried dangling this thing over the side of the boat. Suddenly an astonishing image of the whole ship turned up on the computer monitor."

The ultrasound device, mounted in a small torpedo-shaped "towfish" pulled along just above the sea floor, was able to pick up the liner so clearly because it sits only 100ft below the surface, and has not been covered by seabed silt.

Controversy still surrounds how the 578ft vessel sank when water flooded in through a 30ft gash in the hull. Most of the 400 passengers were Australians and there were 300 crew.

However, thanks to heroic rescue efforts by volunteers working in the pitch dark and driving rain, the only casualty was a Russian crew member.

A preliminary inquiry after the sinking heard that the ship had been under the guidance of Don Jamison, the harbourmaster from nearby Picton, who knew the area well. The only explanation that he could give for why he took the ship into waters that were too shallow was that he had been overworking.


Amazing picture, but I'm not all that convinced it occured in the way he discribed. To get that by accident first time is a bit 'hollywood' isn't it?


War Hero
The liner only sank in 86. It's hardly "Raise the Titanic"is it?

I imagine the real scenario might have been "Lets use the scanner to look at the Russian ship thats marked on this chart"


Lantern Swinger
"the same ultrasound technology that hospitals use to examine pregnant women ??"
If he was using it to survey mussel beds why didn't they just call it high frequency sonar ???
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