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Titanic ‘hero’ exposed as fake

October 22, 2012

One hundred years on from the sinking of the Titanic, the supposed heroism of a Mexican passenger has been dismissed as a tall tale.

For 30 years, Alejandro Garate Uruchurtu has been spreading word of how his uncle Manuel Uruchurtu gave up his seat on a lifeboat to save the life of British passenger Elizabeth Ramell. As a result, in February 2011 Uruchurtu was honored as a “Chivalrous Hero” by the Sonoran History Society, in a first step toward recognition as a national hero.

Garate even claimed the selfless act had earned his uncle recognition in the U.S. Senate, citing evidence unearthed by researcher Robert Bracken. But Bracken, treasurer of the Titanic International Society, denied this claim, declaring, “I have never written a word nor found any material on Ramell and Uruchurtu.”

“I have no knowledge of any ‘act of heroism’ recognized by the Senate of the United States,” added Don Lynch, an official historian of the Titanic Historical Society, established in 1963. The only mention of Uruchurtu on record was among the passenger list, Lynch said.

In light of these revelations, renowned Mexican author Guadalupe Loaeza has decided not to republish her book, “El Caballero del Titanic,” having based it entirely on the questionable testimony of Garate, who also wrote the preface and receives a percentage of royalties.

“He has been feeding this legend for 30 years without a single document (of proof)” Loaeza said.

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