Throughout history, tragedies have claimed the lives of thousands of people. Some could have been avoided. Others were doomed to happen. One such tragedy is that of the RMS Titanic, the famous British passenger liner that sank during its maiden voyage, killing more than 1.500 people. Its sinking is among the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in modern history.
At the time it was launched at sea, the RMS Titanic was the largest boat afloat. It was the second of three Olympic class ocean liners operated by the White Star Line. Thomas Andrews, its naval architect called it “unsinkable”. On its maiden voyage it had 2,224 passengers and crew aboard.
The Maiden Voyage of the RMS Titanic
The Titanic set sail from Southampton, England on April 10, 1912. It was heading towards New York City. The ship was also nicknamed the “Millionaire’s Special,” because of the large number of wealthy and prominent passengers on board. Some of them were American businessman Benjamin Guggenheim, British journalist William Thomas Stead, and Macy’s department store co-owner Isidor Straus along with his wife, Ida. The architect of the Titanic, Thomas Andrews was also on board.
It was four days after the journey started that tragedy struck. At 11.40 pm on 14 April an iceberg was spotted ahead. First Officer William Murdoch tried to start the procedure to avoid the iceberg, but it was too late. The RMS Titanic hit the massive block of ice on the starboard side. A series of holes appeared. Water started bursting through them and soon watertight compartments were being flooded. The RMS Titanic, the unsinkable ship was doomed. With five of the compartments flooded, it had started sinking bow-first.
The crew was not prepared for such an event. The lifeboats were barely enough to help save half of the people on board. The “women and children first” protocol was established and generally followed. Most of the male passengers and the crew were left on board. Among them was Thomas Andrews.
At 2:20 am, two hours and forty minutes after the collision with the Iceberg, the RMS Titanic started breaking in two parts. The ship sank completely and the surviving passengers were plunged in waters of 28 °F (−2 °C). A large part of the victims died within two minutes because of cold shock. The others followed soon after. Only 13 people were rescued from the freezing waters.
In the end, the tragedy of the RMS Titanic killed 1514 people. Less than a third were rescued. Among the dead were many women and children. Do you think this tragedy could have been avoided?