In May 1915, a renowned 58-year-old sea captain, Captain William Thomas Turner, made a series of questionable decisions.
He was the captain of the Lusitania, a ship with 1,959 passangers, sailing from Manhattan to London. The first World War was taking place around them, and Captain Turner knew he needed to move swiftly to evade German submarines.
His ship approached England; land was in sight. They had almost made it. Yet for reasons that will always remain a mystery, around 1 pm on May 7th, Captain Turner slowed the speed of the vessel to around 18 knots, slower than the 21 knots that they needed to outpace the threat of submarines. Around 45 minutes later, he executed what’s called a “four-point bearing,” which forced him to pilot the ship in a straight line rather than a zigzag course, which would be better for outmaneuvering torpedos.