Titanic History ~ History Of The Titanic
The Titanic set sail from Southampton, England on April 10, 1912, departing with fanfare on its maiden voyage. Executives of the White Star Line were on board, along with rich and famous passengers who had the privilege of traveling on the largest and most luxurious ship ever built.
The first days of the journey weren’t entirely uneventful. As the Titanic was leaving Southampton, it nearly collided with another luxury liner, and on the first day of the voyage, a fire broke out in one of the Titanic’s coal bunkers. Nonetheless, the voyage continued, with scheduled stops in France and Ireland.
On the night of April 14, other ships in the area had reported sightings of icebergs, but the seas were calm and the sky was clear, if moonless.
At approximately 11:30 p.m., a crewman spotted an iceberg in the direct path of the Titanic, rang a warning bell, and telephoned the captain. The ship’s course was immediately reversed, and everyone breathed a sigh of relief that, seemingly, a collision had been avoided. Unfortunately, something far worse had occurred – a jagged piece of the iceberg that was underwater and out of sight had sliced a 300-foot horizontal gash in the Titanic’s hull, compromising five of the “watertight” compartments.
More than an hour passed before an evacuation was ordered, and the disorganization and chaos that followed undoubtedly contributed to the loss of more lives. The first lifeboats went out with only a handful of passengers on them, despite their capacity of 65 people each. This fact is all the more alarming, given that there were only 16 lifeboats on the Titanic, nowhere near enough to serve the 2,222 passengers and crew aboard the Titanic.
According to sea law at the time, women and children were supposed to board the lifeboats first, and that practice was largely followed. From the time of the collision until the Titanic sank completely, close to three hours passed, with the reported sinking taking place at approximately 2:20 a.m. on April 15, 1912.
Upon receiving a distress signal from the Titanic around midnight, the RMS Carpathia rushed at full steam to the site, but only managed to save the 705 people who were in lifeboats. The rest of the Titanic passengers and crew perished in the icy, dark waters near Newfoundland.