On April 14, 109 years ago, the world-class RMS Titanic ship hit an iceberg and began sinking to the bottom of the North Atlantic ocean. The grand ship was the largest passenger vessel ever build, but was only afloat for four days during her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York when she hit a massive iceberg. The ship sank hours later on 15 April 1912.
We’ve put together some interesting facts about the ship and the events surrounding that fateful night.
1. The ship hit a blackberg
The Denver Post reported that the iceberg was in fact a blackberg, which is also known as a blue iceberg. These icebergs appear blue in the day but when night falls it turns dark – similar to the black ice you find on a frozen road. They don’t reflect light at night which makes it impossible to see.
2. The ship sank the next day
The Titanic initially hit the iceberg on April 14, but the ship only sunk on April 15. It took two hours and 40 minutes to reach the ocean floor. The first lifeboat was launched an hour after the catastrophe struck. The ship took on 400 tons of water per minute before it sank.
3. Not enough lifeboats for passengers
One of the main reasons why so many passengers died on the Titanic is because there were not enough lifeboats, because it didn’t quite fit the beautiful open space and aesthetic of the upper deck. They were aiming for luxury and bulky lifeboats would clutter the deck where first-class passengers paid good money to enjoy leisurely strolls. There were officially 20 boats, which could only carry 1/3 of the ship’s passengers.
4. It took 74 years to relocate the ship
The ship sank in 1912 but the wreckage was only located 74 years later in 1985. Rich families tried to locate and retrieve the ship after it sank, but there wasn’t enough technology to assist in the search. When an underwater earthquake hit in 1929, experts assumed the ship was further pushed under the sand and buried forever. But in 1985, technology from a US Navy mission located the wreckage.
5. Passenger saved by whisky
There were 2 200 passengers aboard the ship the night it sank. Of those, 700 survived and 1500 died. Due to the icy cold water temperature, some passengers and crew members died in less than 45 minutes when they fell into the sea. The chief baker Charles Joughin, however, managed to survive in the freezing water for two hours before he was rescued because he had been drunk from consuming copious amounts of whisky.
6. No more living survivors of the Titanic
Millvina Dean, was the youngest survivor of the Titanic – she was only nine-weeks-old when the ship went down. Unfortunately, she died at the age of 97 on 31 May 2009. There are no more survivors.
7. Nature caused the ship to sink
As expected, there are several conspiracy theories about the factors that led to the ship sinking on that fateful eve. Two theories blames Mother Nature – one study conducted showed that the Earth was too close to the sun and moon that day, which could have caused extraordinary tides which affected the glacier’s movement. Another claims that the conditions out at sea could have created a mirage over the ocean which played tricks on the lookouts.