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€1.5m dive to discover Lusitania's lost secrets

THE owner of the Lusitania wreck off the south coast has described a €1.5m dive and film documentary on the World War I liner as a dream come true.

US businessman Greg Bemis arrives in Cork today to attend an event to mark the worldwide launch of the National Geographic film 'Dark Secrets of the Lusitania'.

The ship -- the largest man-made structure in the world at the time -- was torpedoed by a German U-boat off the Cork coast in 1915 and sank, with the loss of 1,198 lives.

The Lusitania has gone down in legend because of the number of deaths, the fact it helped bring the United States into WWI and allegations that a second explosion within the hull was caused by munitions it was illegally carrying.

The project -- which cost €1.5m -- required a team of US and Irish divers supported by mini-submarines, an underwater 'space suit' and a cutting crew to facilitate access to the hull.

The dive required a special licence from the Government because the site, 20km off the Old Head of Kinsale, is essentially considered a war grave.

Irish Independent