The Titanic hit an iceberg in 1912 because of a basic steering error, and only sank as fast as it did because an official persuaded the captain to continue sailing, an author said in an interview published on Wednesday.
Louise Patten, a writer and granddaughter of Titanic second officer Charles Lightoller, said the truth about what happened nearly 100 years ago had been hidden for fear of tarnishing the reputation of her grandfather, who later became a war hero.
Lightoller, the most senior officer to have survived the disaster, covered up the error in two inquiries on both sides of the Atlantic because he was worried it would bankrupt the ill-fated liner's owners and put his colleagues out of a job, Reuters says.
But now his granddaughter, Lady (Louise) Patten, has revealed it in her new novel. "It just makes it seem all the more tragic. They could easily have avoided the iceberg if it wasn't for the blunder," she said.
The error happened because at the time seagoing was undergoing enormous upheaval because of the conversion from sail to steam ships. The change meant there was two different steering systems and different commands attached to them, according to The Financial Express.