|Editions | myCNN | Video | Audio | Headline News Brief | Feedback||
Scientists Work to Restore Civil War-Era SubmarineAired March 2, 2001 - 2:34 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: For scientists in Charleston, South Carolina, the painstaking excavation of a national treasure continues. You may remember about seven months ago the H.L. Hunley was brought to the surface. The submarine had gone down 136 earlier -- 136 years earlier. That was during the Civil War.
CNN's Brian Cabell was there when the old sub was raised up. It was found six years ago. What took so long from the time it was found until they got it up?
BRIAN CABELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they found it in '95, Lou, and they confirmed that it was, in fact, the Hunley in '96, and then they had to make preparations, careful preparations, to make certain that they got it up safely. And indeed, they did get it up safely. And now the exciting time starts in the next few weeks.
In fact, on Monday, they will start the actual excavation of the Hunley. They've removed three steel plates from the hull of the Hunley over the last couple of weeks. On Monday, they will actually start digging into the Hunley, probably about an inch at a time: very slowly, very painstakingly.
They think the whole operation will take maybe a month, maybe two months. They really don't know.
They're expecting to find the remains of nine people onboard the submarine, those that went down with the sub back in 1864. They'll also find artifacts. They may find weapons. They think they will find probably some soft tissue from some of the bodies. It's that well-preserved. They will probably find some clothes. They will find coins, they will find mementos.
I talked to one official yesterday. He said they even may find a Bible onboard this sub.
For the first couple of weeks, they expect to find mostly sediment. It's kind of a clay-like substance, which they will get out with a trawl and they will put it into a bucket, use a sieve to get out any artifacts, any shells. And again, probably within about two to three weeks, they will start getting to the bottom of the sub, and that's where they expect to find the human remains. That's where they will find the artifacts. That's where they will find the real treasure.
But it will be exciting over the next few weeks for the scientists.
WATERS: Who is they? Is it finders keepers?
CABELL: No, it's actually -- it's some foundations, but it's basically the state of South Carolina is operating this. It's costing about 15 to 20 million dollars: a number of scientists. It will stay in South Carolina, in Charleston.
WATERS: And the goal is to preserve it?
CABELL: To preserve it and there's also the central question why did the sub go down. It sank a Union ship back in 1864, and nobody knows exactly why it sank.
WATERS: I think many of us were just shocked to learn that there were submarines during the Civil War.
CABELL: It predated any others for a good 50 years. It was the first sub ever to sink an enemy ship. It didn't happen again for another 50 years later.
WATERS: So how -- how much is this -- how long will this restoration process take?
CABELL: It'll take probably six to 10 years. But...
CABELL: ... we'll actually find out what's inside the sub over the next (UNINTELLIGIBLE) months.
WATERS: So there's more to learn, a lot more to learn.
OK, Brian Cabell on the Hunley.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com
|Back to the top|