Fresh revelations into the sinking of the Lusitania claim to debunk theories that an explosion of munitions on board caused the ship to sink rapidly, claiming 1,198 lives.
The Cunard vessel was sailing from New York to Liverpool in 1915 when it was hit by a German torpedo. Passengers reported a second explosion, sparking debate that the liner was carrying a secret cache of munitions.
But a new National Geographic documentary, to be aired on July 15th, claims the second explosion was caused by one of the ship’s boilers. The documentary suggests the rapid sinking was caused by the damage from the initial torpedo.
The ship’s owner, Gregg Bemis (84), was involved in the dive but he disagrees with scientists’ findings in follow-up laboratory research.
The 790ft-long vessel sits in 300ft of water 18km off the Kinsale coast.
Historian Dermot Ryan, from Kinsale, where an inquest into the sinking took place, said he “would be inclined to agree with Bemis”.
“This [new information] is in line with previous British reactions to having a store of munitions on the ship. We know there were bullets on board but was there something bigger?” Mr Ryan said.