After harboring the secret for a century, the family of the Titanic’s doomed captain has revealed that it was indeed a human error that brought down the unsinkable ship.
Louise Patton told The Daily Telegraph that her grandfather, second officer Charles Lightoller, is to blame for a steering mistake that brought the ship to its demise. In retrospect, the man probably did what most of us would do upon seeing an enormous iceberg directly ahead: he panicked, and ordered the wheel to be spun in what ended up being the totally wrong direction.
Lightoller, who went on to be a war hero, had denied his involvement in the iceberg collision at both the American and British official inquiries into the tragedy. Patton decided to reveal her family secret in her new novel, Good as Gold.
Patton also disclosed that it was her grandfather who decided the ship would be floating for a while after it struck iceberg. The thing was, like, unsinkable, right? But anyone who’s seen a certain movie knows that — spoiler alert! — the thing didn’t stay afloat too long.
Lightoller was the highest ranking official to survive the crash, meaning he probably stayed with the other bone-chilled passengers at The Jane Hotel after he landed in New York. So the next time you’re drinking at The Jane until the wee hours of the morning, annoying the neighbors, keep that in the back of your head.