Lusitania werd op 7 mei 1915 getorpedeerd door een Duitse onderzeeër, waarna het schip zeer snel ten onder ging. Hieronder twee vertaalde fragmenten uit het verslag van de Duitse kapitein van de onderzeeboot, Kapitänleutnant Walter Schwieger.
“Clear bow shot at 700 [meters] . . . Shot struck starboard side close behind the bridge. An extraordinarily heavy detonation followed, with a very large cloud of smoke (far above the front funnel). A second explosion must have followed that of the torpedo (boiler or coal or powder?) [The superstructure right above the point of impact and the bridge are torn asunder, fire breaks out, and smoke envelops the high bridge.] The ship stopped immediately and quickly listed sharply to starboard, sinking deeper by the head at the same time. It appeared as if it would capsize in a short time. Great confusion arose on the ship; some of the boats were swung clear and lowered into the water.”
“Many people must have lost their heads; several boats loaded with people rushed downward, struck the water bow or stern first and filled at once. . . . The ship blew off steam; at the bow the name “Lusitania” in golden letters was visible. The funnels were painted black; stern flag not in place. It was running 20 nautical miles. Since it seemed as if the steamer could only remain above water for a short time, went to 24 m. and ran toward the Sea. Nor could I have fired a second torpedo into this swarm of people who were trying to save themselves.”