The Baron Gautsch was a passenger ship belonging to the Austrian Lloyd. It sailed the Dalmatian route between the southern Dalmatia and Trieste. During the First World War, this Austrian steamer used to take on board the refugees from the once safe Adriatic zone. On August 13, 1914 at 11:00 AM, the Baron Gautsch sailed from the port of Veli Losinj (Lussin Grande) in the direction of Trieste. Its estimated arrival time was 6:00 PM. The steamer was sticking close to the shore in order to evade the minefield that had been laid by the Austrian Navy. The day was beautiful, and the sea calm. Only one oversight made by the captain (who was, according to several witnesses, in his cabin enjoying good company) sealed the fate of the ship. It stumbled into the minefield. At 3:45 PM – BOOM – the ship was hit. It sank in a matter of minutes: out of 300 persons who were on board, 130 drowned. The surviving crew faced heavy accusations - many lifeboats were not used due to bad maintenance, while the life preservers could not be used since they were locked up in order to prevent the third class passengers from using them as pillows during the voyage. Finally, the crew was accused of putting themselves first, instead of saving the passengers, many of them women and children.
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