In the early hours of April 15, 1912, the RMS Titanic sank to the depths of the Atlantic Ocean, on its very first voyage from Southampton to New York. How much do you know about the disaster?
The world’s largest man-made vehicle (at the time) had a total length of 269 meters and grazed an iceberg at twenty minutes before midnight on April 14, 1912. Despite several warnings, the Titanic headed at its top speed of 23 knots through dangerous waters. The fact that the ice berg was seen 30 seconds before the collision by the lookouts, who did not even have binoculars, could not turn the tide.
It then took two and a half hours for the battered colossal ship to sink, leaving survivors in the icy waters. In total, the sea disaster cost 1,500 people their lives, and with 705 people rescued, there were less than half as many survivors.
Here are 8 facts about the ‘unsinkable’ Titanic:
1. How many lifeboats were there on board?
Although originally designed for 64 lifeboats, there were only 20 on board. That was far from enough for the 2,200 passengers and crew. In addition, a large number of lifeboats were not filled to capacity. One of them had only 24 people on board, although 65 could have been on board. A rescue exercise with the boats had been planned earlier that day, but it was cancelled.
2. Why were there so few survivors?
Mainly because of the freezing cold. People who hit the water died within minutes in the icy ocean. However, the ship’s baker, Charles Joughin, survived for two hours, claiming he did not feel the cold because he was drunk on whiskey.
3. What did the damage of the iceberg do?
The damage caused by the iceberg caused a tear of over 200ft along starboard. The size of the opening caused five of the bow compartments to flood. Given the ship’s design, four compartments could have filled up safely. It is therefore assumed that the Titanic would have survived a head-on collision.
4. The Daily Mail reported “No lives lost”
A day later, on 16 April, the Daily Mail newspaper reported on the disaster. The headline read: “Titanic sunk, no lives to mourn.” The real nature of the disaster would only become clear a few days later.
5. There were other survivors
Some dogs survived the disaster. In addition to the 705 human survivors, two of the nine dogs on board were rescued a Pekinese and a dwarf cage.
6. The Titanic had its own newspaper
The newspaper was called The Atlantic Daily Bulletin. It was printed every day and contained news items, share prices, horse racing results and the menu of the day. (The last meal for first class travelers had 11 courses).
7. The Steam Pipes
Only three of the four steam pipes on the ship were needed as exhaust for the boilers, which burn 650 tons of coal a day. The fourth pipe was only of decorative value, because the designers wanted the Titanic to look bigger.
8. The Titanic orchestra
An orchestra was put together to entertain first class travellers during the trip. They had memorized all 350 pieces from the White Star Line Songbook. When the ship sank, the band kept playing for another two hours to keep the people calm.