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Titanic May Have Met Fast End

New evidence has researchers reconsidering the Titanic's final moments. The ocean liner, which was thought to be unsinkable, may have gone to the bottom more quickly than previously believed.

CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer says that, thanks to the movies, we all think we know how the Titanic went down — the lights on the stricken vessel glimmering to the last moment, terrified passengers huddling against the cold as the band played the hymn, "Nearer My God to Thee."

But a new discovery indicates it didn't happen that way.

In 1985, explorer Robert Ballard found the bow and stern sections of the Titanic in 13,000 feet of frigid water off the coast of Newfoundland.

Now, divers have found two more pieces from the bottom of the ship, about a third of a mile away.

If the bottom broke off, say historians, the vessel probably sank much faster than anyone thought.

The stern section, filled with people, was believed to have stayed afloat for about 20 minutes.

That's what gave Kate Winslet time to rescue Leonardo DiCaprio from the ship's jail in the 1997 movie "Titanic."

The new discovery suggests she wouldn't have had time. The stern would have slipped under the icy waves in about five minutes. Less romantic for Hollywood but, says Palmer, more merciful for the doomed passengers.

Previously, researchers believed the ship broke in just two major pieces, the bow and stern, which was how the sinking was depicted in the film.

"What we assumed was it broke up because it sank," said David Brown, a Titanic historian. "Now we know it sank because it broke up."

The newly found hull sections, located about a third of a mile from the stern of the wreck, were examined during an expedition in August sponsored by The History Channel. On Monday, Titanic experts met at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to discuss their analysis of the find for a documentary to be aired on the cable channel on Feb. 26.

The sections, both about 40 feet by 90 feet, were once a single section and were found in good condition, with red bottom paint still visible. The missing sections had been believed to have fragmented into hundreds of small pieces.