Everybody knows the Titanic sank after hitting an iceberg during its maiden voyage — spawning a super-successful Leonardo DiCaprio movie nearly a century later.
However, a new Smithsonian Channel documentary disputes the story behind the demise of the allegedly unsinkable ocean liner, claiming it was a fire within the ship that ultimately led the ship to sink to the bottom of the Atlantic back in 1912.
The hour-long documentary — titled Titanic: The New Evidence — presents new information suggesting that a coal fire in the ship’s furnace room was responsible for the disaster, reports Entertainment Weekly.
The new evidence is found in recently unearthed photos from the private collection of the Titanic’s chief electrical engineer, John Kempster, taken during the building of the ship. State-of-the-art CGI and colourizing technology is used to animate the stills in order to allow viewers to virtually board the ship.
The documentary presents two photos in which a 30-foot-long black streak can be seen, which experts claim is evidence of a fire in the coal bunker below deck. This, claims the doc, caused serious damage to the ship’s structural integrity by weakening the hull in the same area where the iceberg struck.
Irish journalist Senan Molony, who has spent three decades studying the Titanic, says the theory presented in the documentary is credible. “It’s a perfect storm of extraordinary factors coming together: fire, ice, and criminal negligence,” Molony says in the doc, according to the New York Times. “The fire was known about, but it was played down. She should never have been put to sea.”
Titanic: The New Evidence airs Saturday, Jan. 21 on the Smithsonian Channel.