Haunting new underwater photos show Titanic’s shipwrecked sister

A diver's eerie images have revealed the wreck of Titanic's fallen sister, a hospital ship that sank in a terrifyingly quick 55 minutes killing 30 people just four years later.

The boat was built by the same Belfast builders Harland and Wolff and it was believed that the Britannic had taken lessons from the disaster of the 'unsinkable' Titanic, which tragically killed 1,500 people in April 1912.

But in 1916, the Britannic, which had been engineered with more lifeboats for safety met a similar fate to her sister, hitting a mine that punctured a large hole in her bow.

Experienced shipwreck diver and retired dentist from Bristol Rick Ayrton, 63, took the images in May of this year while diving near the Greek Island of Kea.

"I have been diving since the late 80s and without a doubt Britannic has been my most memorable dive to date", Rick told Jam Press.

"It’s amazing to see parts of the ship that you can relate to. Since the wreck is pretty intact you can visualise the captain on the bridge giving orders.

"Seeing the bridge with the telegraph heads and the helm with the rotted spokes of what remained of the ship’s wheel particularly standouts."

Rick added: "At the other end of the ship I was pleased to capture a view of the whole stern with the three propellers, a truly magnificent sight.

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"I also came across a plaque that had been placed by another expedition that was a memorial to Jacques Cousteau whose team was the first to dive the wreck in 1976."

30 people who were fleeing the sinking ship on lifeboats were horrifically killed when they collided with one of the ship's spinning propeller blades.

Charles Alfred Bartlett, captain of the Britannic, reportedly had ordered lifeboats not to be released by the stern as he'd continued to power the engines at full speed in an effort to beach the sinking boat.

But panicked crew members decided to prematurely launch the lifeboats against their captain's orders, resulting in the tragic death of 30 passengers and crew.

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The ship tragically sunk in 55 minutes, compared to the two hours and 40 minutes the Titanic took to sink.

Eerie images show a bath, complete with corroded hot and cold taps, where casualties would most likely have been bathed on the wartime hospital ship.

The ship made six trips in total, mostly commissioned under WWI duties to pick up casualties on the Greek Island of Lemnos before returning to Southampton.

Unlike the Titanic, which had 702 survivors of the 2,240 onboard, most of the people on board the Britannic survived – with 1,030 people saved of 1,060.

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Rick, who spent four months preparing for the technical dive, said: “We had a team of 10 divers and were doing dives of between four and five hours.

“This would be made up of about 40 minutes actually on the wreck, the rest of the time was the ascent and decompression phase.

“We use dive computers to tell us how quickly we can ascend as if we were to come up too quickly we could get the bends, decompression sickness."

Now, Rick is releasing a series of images from the dive in a book titled Britannic.

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