Britannic left Naples and arrived in the Kea Channel on November 21, 1916. The crew had settled down to routine duties aboard ship. The nurses were preparing the hospital wards before they were to take on the next group of wounded soldiers for the return home. They had opened the portholes to air the rooms out. Engineers, down below, were preparing to change shifts. To make the job go smoother they decided to leave the water-tight doors open. It was about 8:00am when the crew was sitting down for breakfast when something went terribly wrong.
The Britannic was rocked by a major explosion to the port side of the ship. The ship had either come into contact with an underwater mine or was torpeoded by a German U-Boat. Water began to rush into the bow causing the ship to go down by the head. The captain gave to order to abandon the ship. Due to the fact that a majority of the portholes were opened as well as the watertight doors not being closed due to the shift change allowed the water to flood the ship at an acclerated rate. This meant that all of the safety measures added to the Britannic, as a result of the Titanic, were of no use.
The Britannic began to go under at an alarming rate. She also began to list heavily to the starboard side. Meanwhile, as the crew were getting into the lifeboats, the Captian tried one, last, desperate act. He thought if he restarted the Britannic's engines that it might be possible to beach her on Kea Island. What Bartlett did not know was that the propellers were already breaking the surface of the water when they began to turn. This meant disaster for the first lifeboats lowered toward the stern of the ship. The propellers began to create a suction pulling the lifeboats into them. The first couple boats stood no chance. They were drawn in and shredded along with the crew members in them. Upon realizing this, Captain Bartlett shut the engines off for the last time. The starting of the engines would not have helped anyway because the front of the Britannic had already touched down into the mud below.
James Cameron plans to use enhanced CGI to represent the propellers.