Lost Liners on PBS


Karen Angstadt

I just watched a documentary on PBS called "Lost Liners". Of course the Titanic was included as was the Lusitania. But to me the most tragic wreck was the Empress of Ireland. I was shocked when they said the ship sank in 14 minutes. 14 minutes!! I'm truly amazed they saved as many people as they did(approx. 300+ out of 1400+). When you look at the numbers the loss of life was greater than the Titanic. I'm thinking that since the ship was in shallow water(200 ft down)and people could dive to it, there wasn't as much mystery as the Titanic. I was curious if anyone else had see the documentary and what your thoughts were on it.

Steve Arnold

Jun 28, 2000
I saw it and it was excellent -- not a lot of new information about the "big two," but I thought the human interest side on all three was very interesting. It is certainly true the the Empress gets very little coverage relative to the others, and it was interesting that even Robert Ballard admitted to knowing little about it until making this program. I also thought it was interesting and a bit ironic that the divers who had retrieved so many artifacts from the wreck of the Empress had since led the way to restricting further plundering of the wreck.

Karen Angstadt

Hi Steve...yes, I agree about the divers. I felt better when I learned one of the divers had opened a museum to show what he had taken, but it still seems like stealing to me. Did you notice that they didn't really show you much of the Empress of Ireland under water? With Titanic you see so much of the ship and what's inside. I never miss an opportunity to watch something about the Titanic, but it was a bonus to see the other 2.
Jul 14, 2000
Hello everyone.

This is my first time posting a message on this site, although I've spent many hours studying the information contained here.
My post today is regarding the 2 hour show that aired on PBS here in Dallas this week called,
"Lost Liners". It was a new documentary that followed Dr. Bob Ballard as he re-visited Titanic,
Lusitania, and Impress of Ireland.
The show has more information available on the PBS
home page www.pbs.org .
The site indicated that the show would also cover
Brittanic, and Andrea Doria however those ships were not mentioned during the 2 hour show that aired this week. (Perhaps this is a two part special and those ships are for next time?)
Anyways, I thought everyone here would surely be
interested in this new show and would like to share thoughts about it online. The TV listings say the program will be aired several times over the weekend on PBS here in Dallas. The only evening show is on Sunday, July 16th.

I'd like to hear what others thought of this program. I enjoyed it very much and its always a pleasure to see and hear from Dr. Ballard.

Love the web site,
Yuri Singleton
Dallas Tx

Elaine Barnes

Hi Yuri,
Just a small correction. It should read Empress of Ireland.
Mar 13, 2000
i didnt get to see the show because it wasnt on my pbs channel and it upset me that my pbs channel didnt have it on i wished i could have seen the show because i like dr ballard and what he did when he discovered it and its too bad that there is a new expidition on the way to the ship and could destroy it when they get there and i hope that the special will be on my pbs channel sometime in the near future jennifer mueller

Elaine Barnes

Hi Yuri,
No, unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to see it. Wish I had, oh well, maybe I'll catch the next one.
Jul 14, 2000
Well, I watched the show for a second time this Sunday afternoon.
No real new information about Titanic, except that Dr. Ballard's comments and tone indicate that he is not interested in going back to Titanic or any other liner. His statements were that after 15 years of locating and documenting the big ships, he's done now. He went to great lengths to say that he dissapproves of the way Titanic and the other liners have been looted by souvenier hunters. He equates the trespassing of salvage companies to grave robbing.
I agree. Seeing the pots and pans, furniture and shoes on the sea floor from the Titanic in the form of photographs, video and artistic depictions is sufficient for me. I don't need to see those same items displayed in circus venues where I view them from my place in the line that is streaming past them.
Off my soap box now.
I still question why there were a couple of places in the segment on Titanic that showed pictures and movie reels of Olympic while referring to Titanic.
Surely by now even the most uninterested film editor can know the difference or have it pointed
out to them by an assistant.
There was a short movie reel of Capt. Smith from the bridge of an unknown ship, wearing his dress white uniform, that I cannot remember seeing before.
One more nit-pic about the documentary.
A lady who was the daughter of a survivor was re-telling the story of her mother's experience as it was no doubt told to her after the sinking.
She said that after the collision, her mother went up on deck and could see the "...giant white mountain in the sea...".
I've not seen or heard any other evidence that anyone on the Titanic during the sinking could see
the iceberg floating nearby. Although personally
I've always wondered if the ship that was seen by the officers on the Titanic, the one that didn't return the lamp signals or respond to the rockets,
if that ship was actually a reflection of the Titanic's lights on a nearby iceberg. Just a 'what if', I have no evidence to support that claim.
Well I look forward to reading everyone's responses.

Jul 9, 2000
Easley South Carolina
Yuri, the reason that the Olympic is used as a stand in for the Titanic is simply because there are far more pictures and films of her. This isn't much of a surprise as the ship lasted for 25 plus years in service. Whereas the Titanic lasted barely a few months.

The mystery ship was and will likely remain a source of controversy and conjecture. The Californian is a popular suspect. Also possible is a smaller ship know to have been operating in the area, illegally hunting seals. Unfortunately, I don't remember the ships name.
Michael H. Standart

David Zeni

I appreciated how celebrity (Bob Ballard) adds worthiness to a part of history which has been neglected. Lost Liners has done more to get the story of the Empress of Ireland out than twenty new books possibly could have. The story of Major Creighton and his wife lost on the Empress was handled so well through the remembrances of descendant David Creighton. As for the artifacts which were raised by the featured divers: Philippe Beaudry and Mark Reynolds. I have mixed feelings on this as I believe divers should be entitled to something for the investment in time, money, and health.
Dec 13, 1999

Good to hear from you!David Zeni's book "Forgotten Empress" - the forgotten story of the Empress of Ireland disaster of 1914, in which more passenger lives were lost than on the Titanic
is the definitive work on the subject.As to the selling of raised artifacts - where have we heard this one before!! It is a great pity that those who have shouted the loudest over Titanic's "salvage" do not enter the argument over the Empress of Ireland, and indeed the Lusitania artifacts with the same enthusiasm.If such disasters are grave sites, what is the difference whether it be in the Atlantic, St Lawrence Seaway or off the coast of Ireland? In my book, a life is a life after all - or am I missing something?
Aug 29, 2000
I remember a novel by Clive Cussler back in the '80's featuring the Empress of Ireland- one of the Dirk Pitt-superhero of NUMA books. I think it was called NIGHT PROBE? It was a real pageturner.

Michael Salvona

HE has another ive just started reading featuring the ANDREA DORIA called SERPANT its got potential so far
May 3, 2002
Wellington, New Zealand
I have just noticed at madisonpress.com that messers Ballard and Archbold have put together a follow up to Lost Liners which includes the warship wrecks that Dr Ballard has visited. It appears to be the same format as Lost Liners at 250pp.



Ernie Luck

Nov 24, 2004
There is a copy of 'Lost Liners' by R Ballard & R Archbald - Paintings by Ken Marschall, in my local second-hand book shop. I should be grateful if any of the Book Worms on ET could give an opinion whether it would be worth my while giving it house room. It is quite a big tome.


Jason D. Tiller

Aug 20, 2000
Niagara Falls, Ontario
Hi Ernie,

I agree with Mike, "Lost Liners" is definitely a great book to own and it's worth the money. I have a copy as well and as usual, Ken's illustrations are stunning.

Best regards,


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