Titantic Passengers & Crew

Background

RMS Titanic was a British passenger liner that sank in the North Atlantic Ocean in the early hours of 15 April 1912, after colliding with an iceberg during her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City. There were an estimated 2, 224 passengers and crew aboard, and more than 1, 500 died, making it one of the deadliest commercial peacetime maritime disasters in modern history. RMS Titanic was the largest ship afloat at the time she entered service and was the second of three Olympic-class ocean liners operated by the White Star Line. She was built by the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast. Thomas Andrews, her architect, died in the disaster.

RMS Titanic departing Southampton on April 10, 1912

Titanic was under the command of Capt. Edward Smith, who also went down with the ship. The ocean liner carried some of the wealthiest people in the world, as well as hundreds of emigrants from Great Britain and Ireland, Scandinavia and elsewhere throughout Europe who were seeking a new life in the United States. The first-class accommodation was designed to be the pinnacle of comfort and luxury, with an on-board gymnasium, swimming pool, libraries, high-class restaurants and opulent cabins. A high-powered radiotelegraph transmitter was available for sending passenger "marconigrams" and for the ship's operational use.

Although Titanic had advanced safety features such as watertight compartments and remotely activated watertight doors, it only carried enough lifeboats for 1, 178 people—about half the number on board, and one third of her total capacity—due to outdated maritime safety regulations. The ship carried 16 lifeboat davits which could lower three lifeboats each, for a total of 48 boats. However, Titanic carried only a total of 20 lifeboats, four of which were collapsible and proved hard to launch during the sinking.

Each unit in this chart represents one person on the Titanic. Scroll down to find out more.

Sinking

At 11:40 p.m. (ship's time) on 14 April 1912, lookout Frederick Fleet spotted an iceberg immediately ahead of Titanic and alerted the bridge. First Officer William Murdoch ordered the ship to be steered around the obstacle and the engines to be stopped, but it was too late; the starboard side of Titanic struck the iceberg, creating a series of holes below the waterline. The hull was not punctured by the iceberg, but rather dented such that the hull's seams buckled and separated, allowing water to seep in. Five of the ship's watertight compartments were breached. It soon became clear that the ship was doomed, as she could not survive more than four compartments being flooded. Titanic began sinking bow-first, with water spilling from compartment to compartment as her angle in the water became steeper.

Those aboard Titanic were ill-prepared for such an emergency. In accordance with accepted practices of the time, where ships were seen as largely unsinkable and lifeboats were intended to transfer passengers to nearby rescue vessels, Titanic only had enough lifeboats to carry about half of those on board; if the ship had carried her full complement of about 3,339 passengers and crew, only about a third could have been accommodated in the lifeboats. The crew had not been trained adequately in carrying out an evacuation. The officers did not know how many they could safely put aboard the lifeboats and launched many of them barely half-full. Third-class passengers were largely left to fend for themselves, causing many of them to become trapped below decks as the ship filled with water. The "women and children first" protocol was generally followed when loading the lifeboats, and most of the male passengers and crew were left aboard.

1,946 (68%) perished in the sinking of the Titanic. 711 people (32%) survived.

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