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Frank Lucks Tower is the subject of an urban legend that said that he survived the sinkings of the RMS Titanic, RMS Empress of Ireland, and the RMS Lusitania. There is no evidence that anyone was involved in all three disasters, and no one with the name of Frank Tower on the crew list on either vessel's respective voyages.

The legend claims that he was a coal stoker on the Titanic, and survived after she sank on her maiden voyage on 14 April 1912. Two years later, on 28 May 1914, Frank was allegedly aboard the Empress of Ireland when she collided with the Norwegian collier Storstad in the Saint Lawrence River. This disaster was considered the worst peacetime maritime disaster in Canadian history, and Tower was one of only 465 of the 1477 aboard to survive. During WWI, Tower was serving as a crew member aboard the RMS Lusitania. In the early afternoon of 7 May 1915, she was torpedoed by the German submarine U-20 and sank eighteen minutes later. (It is rumored that he shouted "Now what!?" when the torpedo struck.) Again, Tower escaped the sinking ship, and swam to a nearby lifeboat.

The legend also claims that the story of Frank Tower serves as the inspiration for Rod Serling's teleplay Lone Survivor for Night Gallery.

Ripley's Believe It or Not reported the legend as if it were verifiably true.[1]

Clive Cussler briefly cites this legendary figure in his nonfiction book The Sea Hunters, in the chapter concerning the U-20. He relates that after the sinking of the Lusitania, Tower swore that he would take up farming and never go to sea again. (This is probably dramatic license on Cussler's part, as he offers fictionalized imaginings of events leading up to and during the shipwrecks depicted.)

Notes

  1. ^ Mooney, Julie (2004). Ripley's Believe It or Not! Encyclopedia of the Bizarre: Amazing, Strange, Inexplicable, Weird and All True!. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers. p. 23. ISBN 1579123996.  

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