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Explorers map the Everest of shipwrecks

Andrea Doria bow
The heavily encrusted bow of the Andrea Doria is dimly visible in this image captured from OceanGate’s Cyclops 1 submersible. (Credit: OceanGate)

A crew of undersea explorers from Everett, Wash., has gotten the best look in decades at the Andrea Doria, an Italian ocean liner that sank 60 years ago off Nantucket.

The hard-to-reach shipwreck has been called the “Mount Everest of scuba diving.” But this Everest is crumbling more quickly than expected, the OceanGate crew reported.

OceanGate CEO Stockton Rush told reporters at a Monday news conference in Boston that the ship looks “dramatically different” from images captured during previous dives. More than a dozen sonar images reveal that a significant portion of the ship’s hull has decayed, 240 feet beneath the Alantic Ocean’s surface. A large section of the bow appears to have broken off.

“Imagine it as a collapsing cave,” the Boston Globe quoted Rush as saying. “Once the cave loses its basic structure, it deteriorates very quickly.”

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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