At around 2.15 am in the year 1912, the famous luxurious ship by the name ‘Titanic’ sank deep into the ocean after hitting an iceberg two hours before. The giant ship was carrying approximately 2,100 passengers on board before disaster struck.
The tragedy occurred on April 15, 1912, after the ship left Southampton, England on a voyage moving passengers across the Atlantic Ocean. In those days, the Titanic was purportedly the largest man-made moving object on earth.
There has been a lot of conflicting theories surrounding the tragic story of the Titanic. Perhaps that is due to the fact that, back then, technology was not that advanced. Today, the Titanic remains the most documented story depicted in books, movies, and TV shows.
No one has ever come up with ‘true’ figures regarding the total number of deaths by the Titanic. For now, all we have are facts about the Titanic; which we are going to discuss below.
1. Titanic was the biggest passenger ship
‘Harmony of the seas’ remains the biggest passenger ship on earth today standing over 360 meters in length. But it was the Titanic which previously held that record for being the largest ship on earth standing at 800 feet. The estimated cost for building the Titanic was around 7.5 million dollars.
One of the most iconic features of the Titanic included an indoor swimming pool, a library, a fitness center, and a squash complex. During its launch, the ship was so big that it almost caused another calamity. It is believed that the catastrophic sinking of the Titanic was due to poor planning.
Oddly, the ship was designed to only support 63 lifeboats. Therefore chances of survival were limited considering the number of passengers on board. It is perhaps the reason why many people lost their lives on that fateful day.
2. Rich and famous on deck
The Titanic was full of rich men and women on deck booked in the First class. During that time, the cost of a single First class ticket was 4,000 dollars. The First class was a showcase of pure extravagance and luxury. For instance, the smoking bay was only meant for rich males. The dining area was decorated with hand-made mahogany roofing.
There is no doubt the First class was filled with glamour and elegance as documented with presence of rich persons on aboard. Eleanor Widener is an illustration of such extravagance as she wore a multi-million necklace worth more than 200,000 million (value back then).
After the ship hit the iceberg for the first time and started to sink gradually, of course, women from the First class were given first priority. Therefore it was no surprise when women from First class were boarded to safety untouched and still dressed in their evening dinner gowns.
Surprisingly, 59 percent of all First class passengers survived the Titanic tragedy.
3. The Iceberg
Edward Smith, Captain of the Titanic ship had managed to steer the ship from hitting many more icebergs before finally hitting one that crushed the ship. It is documented that Capt. Edward had received several radio calls from other ships warning him to stay clear of icebergs in the Atlantic Ocean.
The first person to spot the iceberg on the Ocean was Frederick Fleet, who described the ‘killer iceberg’ as something out of the ordinary and about 90 feet in length. It is also believed that the iceberg was initiated from a glacier which went on to float into the path of the Titanic.
The sudden impact of the ship hitting the iceberg was so powerful that it ruptured the ship’s lower decks. What was believed to be an unimaginable tragedy was now proving a reality- the ‘’unsinkable’’ was going to sink. In a spurn of close to 2 hours or so, since the impact, the ship was completely submerged in deep waters.
4. The disaster crew were clueless
Failure to send accurate distress calls to other vessels in the Atlantic waters was completely mistimed and unplanned. As a matter of fact, the Titanic crew sent the wrong signals on the ship’s location firing misleading rockets in the sky.
The perception of everybody on board was the same- the Titanic is unsinkable. Such a mindset and misconception is what led to many losing their lives. Also, the crews on board were not properly trained on safety drills in disaster management. Shortly, after the collision, no single crew member had a single idea of what to do next- everything was in dismay.
5. The actual Collision
Even after the Titanic hit the iceberg on that fateful day, it emerged obviously that not everyone would find safety whatsoever. What followed next was a state of confusion. Everybody on board was in total confusion. Was the Titanic going to sink? Probably yes, and it did.
A collision of any nature to a heavy moving structure on water is usually fatal. Many people died that dreadful day due to the freezing cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Luckily, many of the survivors were mostly women and children. They were the first ones to be put on safety boats before the ship sank.
6. Counting losses
The Titanic broke into two before completely submerging into the Atlantic Ocean. Many eyewitnesses attested to seeing smoke coming out from an incoming vessel suspected to be heading south, but the ship did not recognize that people were fighting for their lives.
This tragedy claimed over 1,500 lives that either sank in it or died as a result of the freezing cold waters of the ocean. Among the dead was a notable British journalist by the name William Thomas together with his three co-workers.
The richest person on board died that day and his body was soon retrieved in the wreck. A group of musicians, who many remember very well playing music till the last minute, all died that day.
Even the ship Captain Edward Smith died inside the ship- he intentionally locked himself inside the ship by refusing to take refuge in one of the lifeboats. As mysterious as it may sound, only 300 dead bodies were recovered from the scene. Another three bodies were later discovered in the ocean inside one of the lifeboats one month after the disaster happened.
7. The discovery of the wreckage of the Titanic ship
In the year 1985, the Titanic wreckage was finally discovered lying over 12,000 feet beneath the ocean. This is approximately 400 miles from Newfoundland coastline. The mission to find the wreck of the tragic Titanic ship was carried out by special Deep sea experts from Russia led by Jean-Louis Michel.
The mission was to penetrate into the deep sea through a submersible device and have a clear view of the actual wreckage in deep waters. The Titanic has been subject to numerous expeditions. Several items have been recovered from the wreck and have been preserved in museums for the public viewing.
8. The Survivors
Despite the Titanic killing more than 1,500 people, 700 people still survived the ordeal. Many survivors were mostly women and children. An hour later after the ship sank; the first rescue mission was conducted by the Cunard liner Carpathia.
This rescue mission was aimed at bringing on board survivors from lifeboats as well as any other people who might be floating on the freezing waters of the Ocean. Karl Behr and Dick Williams, who were then professional tennis players, were among the first people to be rescued from the disaster. The two went on to become the best of friends as well as teammates as professional sportsmen.
Other survivors include the sad story of Rhoda Abbott who lost her two sons after diving with them in the freezing waters. Her two sons died, but she miraculously survived by managing to keep herself alive by floating on the cold waters of the Atlantic.
9. The birth of the ‘Titanic movie’
One of the most success stories regarding the tragedy of the famous giant ship Titanic is perhaps James Cameron’s epic ‘Titanic movie’. This movie was produced, directed and edited by James Cameron, who drew inspiration from shipwrecks. He had this obsession on shipwrecks.
The movie went to become one of the best movies of all time which was released in 1997. The movie went on to win 11 Oscars, a feat that has never been matched by any other film in history. In fact, the movie stands as the being the best selling movie of all time. The movie spent a whopping 200 million dollars to produce.
Even though there are other myths surrounding the sinking of the Titanic, there could be more undiscovered facts. Whatever happened that fateful day when the ship sink into the Atlantic Ocean, still remains unknown to everyone.
The only people who can be able to give the full details of what exactly transpired that day are actually dead by now; including the captain himself (who unfortunately died that same day). However, with ever-changing technological advancements and dozens of discoveries on the actual wreck, the truth will one day come out clearer to us.