Watery Grave

The Adriatic’s Titanic, the Baron Gautsch, Turns 100 (Photos)

Two years after history’s most famous shipwreck, the Baron Gautsch strayed into a friendly minefield off modern-day Croatia and sank. Today it’s the Adriatic’s most popular dive site.

Antonio Bronic/Reuters

Antonio Bronic/Reuters

Wednesday marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Baron Gautsch, an Austro-Hungarian steamboat that sank in the northern Croatian Adriatic Sea. The ship, launched in 1908 and originally used to service passenger lines, had been leased by the Austro-Hungarian army following the July 1914 outbreak of World War I to transport troops, only to run into a friendly minefield off the Brijuni Islands less than a month later. Between 240 and 390 people died in the sinking, making it one of the biggest losses of life in World War I. Today the shipwreck lies at a depth of 130 feet off the Croatian city of Rovinj and is said to be the most popular site for divers in the Adriatic.

At left, a diver swims near the command bridge of the wreck on June 22.

Antonio Bronic/Reuters

A diver swims near the bow of the wreck.

Antonio Bronic/Reuters

A diver swims inside the wreck.

Antonio Bronic/Reuters

A part of the wreck.

Antonio Bronic/Reuters

The upper deck of the wrecked Baron Gautsch.

Antonio Bronic/Reuters

The interior of the wreck of the Baron Gautsch.

Wikipedia Commons

The Baron Gautsch at work.