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Captain of Sinking Ship Gave False Hope

The British ocean liner, the R.M.S. Lusitania, was struck by a torpedo from a German submarine on May 7, 1915. It appears that in an effort to minimize panic, the captain, William Thomas Turner, created a false sense of assurance. Shortly after the torpedo struck the liner, a fellow passenger, Charles Lauriat, heard a female passenger call out, "Captain, what do you wish us to do?" Author Erik Larson writes he replied, "Stay right where you are, Madam, she's all right."

"Where do you get your information?" she asked. "From the engine room, Madam," he said. But the engine room clearly had told him no such thing … Lauriat and the woman now headed back toward the stern, and as they walked they told other passengers what the captain had said. Second-class passenger Henry Needham may have encountered the pair, for he recalled that a passenger approaching from the direction of the bridge had shouted, "The Captain says the boat will not sink."
"The remark," Needham wrote, "was greeted with cheers and I noticed many people who had been endeavoring to get a place in the boats, turned away in apparent contentment."
Turner's words merely confirmed what the passengers and crew already believed, or wanted to believe: that no torpedo could cause the ship mortal damage.

Of the 1,959 passengers aboard the Lusitania, 1,198 perished.

Possible Preaching Angles: (1) Judgment; Hell; Warning—Jesus spoke about hell and judgment (as do other parts of Scripture) not to scare us, but to prepare us for what's really coming. (2) Honesty—This is also a good example of the need to speak the truth in love in Christian community.

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