In January 1898, USS Maine destined Havana, Cuba from Key West, Florida to secure US business and citizens abroad. On February 15, USS Maine exploded in the Havana Harbor. 266 men died in this disaster, 89 men survived, including her Captain. Throughout investigation, experts found out that more than 5 tons of gun powder for the ship’s weaponry exploded, completed destroyed the bow of the ship. Later on the ship sunk to the bottom of the ocean. Most of the crew were killed either in the explosion or drowned to death. The US Naval Court of Inquiry later declared that a sea mine set up the explosion.
The disaster caused a sensation in the United States, and it soon becomes the headline of many newspapers. Moreover, American Authorities asserted that the cause of the explosion was a Spanish mine attack. At the same time, Spanish authority declared that they have nothing to do with the explosion. After arguments between two countries, they decided to form an investigation group. However, when the Spanish wanted to board the wreckage, the Americans denied it and towed the wreckage out the harbor and sunk it in the Atlantic Ocean. Less than 3 months after the incident, President McKinley declared war on Spain.