National Geographic : 1994 Apr
he looked more like a junk yard than a luxury liner when we first saw the Lusitania last July. Plunging bow first into 295 feet of water, the 785-foot long ship slammed into the bot tom while her stern was still at the surface. The force of the impact crumpled the stem of her bow and cracked open her hull amidships. After she crashed down on her starboard side, her decks collapsed, spilling debris onto the seafloor. Remnants of snagged fishing nets (facing page) shroud the wreck where she lies 13 miles south of the lighthouse at the Old Head of Kinsale (above). A strong current and turbid water hindered our three underwater vehicles. In this painting, Jason photographs the Lusitania's name, while Homer, a small robot from the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution, peers under the hull, and Delta, a yellow submarine from Delta Oceanographics, inspects the crack amidships. The liner's giant funnels have long since turned to rust, her lifeboats have rotted away, and human remains have been con sumed by sea creatures.