The sinking of the RMS Titanic may have been caused by an enormous fire on board, not by hitting an iceberg in the North Atlantic, experts have claimed, as new evidence has been published to support the theory, according to The Independent, reports Unian.
More than 1,500 passengers lost their lives when the Titanic sank on route to New York from Southampton in April 1912, The Independent reported.
While the cause of the disaster has long been attributed to the iceberg, fresh evidence has surfaced of a fire in the ship's hull, which researchers say burned unnoticed for almost three weeks leading up to the collision. While experts have previously acknowledged the theory of a fire on board, new analysis of rarely seen photographs has prompted researchers to blame the fire as the primary cause of the ship's demise.
Journalist Senan Molony, who has spent more than 30 years researching the sinking of the Titanic, studied photographs taken by the ship's chief electrical engineers before it left Belfast shipyard.
He said: "We are looking at the exact area where the iceberg stuck, and we appear to have a weakness or damage to the hull in that specific place, before it even left Belfast." Experts subsequently confirmed the marks were likely to have been caused by a fire started in a three-storey high fuel store behind one of the ship's boiler rooms.
A team of 12 men attempted to put out the flames, but it was too large to control, reaching temperatures of up to 1000 degrees Celsius. Subsequently, when the Titanic struck ice, the steel hull was weak enough for the ship's lining to be torn open.
Officers on board were reportedly under strict instruction from J Bruce Ismay, president of the company that built the Titanic, not to mention the fire to any of the ship's 2,500 passengers.