The Titanic - which sank April 15, 1912 - is remembered as the worst maritime accident in history, not only because the sinking of the ship itself was tragic, but because the hubris of the builders - who called the ship “unsinkable” - led them to include only enough lifeboats to salvage about half the passengers.
“Arrival of the ship of sorrow”, published in the Boston Globe May 4, 1912.
How many people actually survived the Titanic sinking? There has never been a completely accurate passenger list for the Titanic - likely because of stowaways and last minute ticket swapping.
Approximately 2227 passengers and crew boarded the ship when she set out on her maiden—and final—voyage. Of those, 705 people survived the sinking of the ship, and 3 more of those perished on the way to Carpathia following rescue. That means that only 702 passengers and crew members survived, out of the approximately 2,227 passengers and crew.
Bonus Facts to Arouse Your Curiosity
1. The Titanic was the largest passenger ship for her time. More than three million rivets were used in her construction. She had a full-fledged hospital on board with an operating room for surgeries, a squash court, and an on-board swimming pool. While the accommodations for first-class passengers were quite nice, they were pretty awful for the lower fares. Third-class passengers had access to only two bathtubs, one for men and one for women. They had to be shared between 700 passengers!
2. What did the Titanic passengers eat as their final meal? In the first class, the menu was an eleven course dinner with several options including salmon, filet mignon, a chicken dish, a vegetable dish, lamb with mint sauce, roast duckling with apple sauce, and beef sirloin. Several options were available for appetizers and sides, and for dessert, passengers could choose between Waldorf Pudding, peaches in chartreuse jelly, chocolate and vanilla éclairs, and French ice cream.
3. There was a lot of food on board the Titanic, including 36,000 oranges, 1,750 quarts of ice cream, 1,500 gallons of milk, and 7,000 lettuce heads. There were also plenty of indulgences available, including 1,500 bottles of wine and 8,000 cigars.
4. Strangely enough, a novel in 1898 by Morgan Robertson, called Futility, seemed precognizant of the Titanic disaster. The book featured an 800-foot passenger liner called the Titan, which struck an iceberg on its starboard side in April. The ship sinks, and there are not enough lifeboats for all the passengers. Amazingly enough, it isn’t just the similar name of the Titanic that mimics the story. The liner was 882 feet in length, and struck the iceberg on its maiden voyage in April, and struck it on its starboard side. Both the real ship and the fictional ship were trying to break speed records when they sank.
5. While there were only 20 lifeboats on board the Titanic, there could have been 48. Why did White Star decide not to carry all the lifeboats that they could have? Aside from sheer hubris, they did it to save money and because to them, fewer lifeboats was more aesthetically pleasing. Imagine realizing you were going to your death because your cruise liner thought lifeboats weren’t aesthetically acceptable!
Those are just a few amazing items of trivia surrounding the Titanic. While it has now been more than a century since the sinking of the Titanic, the tragedy of this passenger liner continues to haunt the memories and imaginations of history buffs around the world.