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14 spectacularly wrong predictions

Photo: Willy Stöwer

» more from Predictions: Looking ahead to 2014

The Titanic

Nearly 100 years after its sinking, the luxury passenger ship Titanic remains a classic example of human arrogance. Many people made many regrettable statements before its doomed maiden voyage—all of them spectacularly, fatally wrong.

Among them was the ship's captain, Edward J. Smith, who said, "I cannot conceive of any vital disaster happening to this vessel. Modern shipbuilding has gone beyond that."

Not to be outdone was Phillip Franklin, vice president of the White Star Line, which had produced the ship. Prior to the voyage, he said, "There is no danger that Titanic will sink. The boat is unsinkable and nothing but inconvenience will be suffered by the passengers."

After the accident, a penitent Franklin walked back his remarks. "I thought her unsinkable, and I based my opinion on the best expert advice."

Photo: Willy Stöwer