Seen as a technological marvel in its time, the Titanic was considered unsinkable due to the craftsmanship and the high-standard of materials used in its making. The sinking of this giant so-called ‘unsinkable’ ship made a lot of waves at the time, if you’ll excuse de pun, and it forever changed the way ships are prepared before voyages along with the standard of maintenance that goes into keeping them working within satisfactory parameters.
The Titanic disaster has been dramatized countless times throughout the years, including several films, books, and stage plays. It is also the preferred ‘go-to’ reference when talking about projects of enormous size that are expected to ho wrong at some point. Whether we like it or not, the Titanic’s sinking forever shaped the way we look at boat voyages and cruises, given how popular this particular disaster is in our society and how recent it is in our memory.
A lot has been said about the Titanic disaster, and there are quite a few myths surrounding it. One such myth claims that third class passengers were forcibly held below the decks and prevented from reaching the lifeboats. In reality, however, there is no historical evidence to suggest this was the case during the evacuation. There were, in fact, gates which barred third class passengers from second and first class passengers, but they existed because of US immigration laws in order to minimize the risk of spreading infectious diseases.
This, however, raises an important question: exactly how many people survived the titanic disaster after all? By all accounts, only 706 out of the 2,223 passengers on board the legendary vessel survived, most of them being women and children. You must of heard about ‘women and children first’ being the official policy during shipwrecks, well this rule was strictly enforced during the Titanic’s sinking.
Furthermore, it wasn’t just women and children who had priority when evacuating the sinking ship. As a rule, it was the first class who first made their way into the lifeboats and there is plenty of historical evidence suggesting that third class passengers were the last to be loaded into the lifeboats. Even so, it was mostly the women and children of third class who got to the boats, but very few of them compared to first class passengers.
Speaking of survivors, it was the women and children of second class who made up the largest percentage of survivors, mainly due to them being close to the deck. Due to their immediate proximity to the deck, most of them managed to make a quick escape to the lifeboats before the crew had a chance to object. By comparison, the largest fatality rate was that of men in the third class. Less than 20% of the men aboard the Titanic survived and the vast majority of them were part of the third class.
As for the crew, 685 members went down with the ship out of a total 899 working on board. By all accounts, the phrase ‘going down with the ship’ was seen as official policy in case of shipwreck and the workers aboard the Titanic did just that. Speaking of staff members, the famous story of band members singing throughout the tragedy has recently been debunked as being nothing more than an urban myth. There is no evidence whatsoever that any of the musicians aboard the Titanic were performing during the ship’s darkest hour.
In terms of survivors, women were the luckiest, followed by children. More than 74% of the women on board the Titanic survived and so did 52% of the children. Unfortunately, because of the priorities enjoyed by first and second class passengers, most of the children who lost their lives in the shipwreck were children from the third class. Still, out of the 1,517 fatalities recorded, 1,347 were men, most from the third class as well.
In hindsight, the tragedy that occurred on 15 of April 1912 could have been handled much better. While the Titanic had the capacity to hold 32 lifeboats, they were only required by law to carry 20 lifeboats, which is exactly how many the Titanic had when the tragedy happened. Furthermore, out of the 20 lifeboats on board, many were not maintained properly, resulting in further loss of life.
All in all, it was 1,517 people who lost their lives when the Titanic sunk in 1912, which is the largest peacetime maritime disaster in history. Out of the 2,223 passengers aboard the legendary vessel, only 706 survived. The last survivor died in 2009, so there are no people around today who experienced the horror first-hand. More than 100 years have passed since the Titanic sunk and although larger disasters have happened since, it still holds a privileged place in our collective memory due to how popular it is.