Thursday, April 14, 2016

Today In History


April 14th 1912: Titanic hits an iceberg

On this day in 1912, at 11.40pm, the RMS Titanic hit an iceberg. The Titanic was the largest and most opulent passenger liner the world had ever seen, attracting notable dignitaries to its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York. The vessel was built in Belfast for White Star Line, with the intention of trumping the company’s rivals at Cunard. The Titanic was lauded as an ‘unsinkable’ ship, but subsequent examinations have suggested some fatal flaws in the ship’s design, in addition to a lack of lifeboats, which only could accommodate half the passengers. Just four days after setting sail, on April 14th at around 11.40pm, the Titanic hit an iceberg. The collision caused a massive gash in the ship’s hull, dooming the vessel to sink. As the ship filled with water and slowly sank, its over two thousand passengers rushed to lifeboats. The panicked evacuation was haphazard, with lifeboats lowered despite not being at full capacity. The ship’s final hours saw a number of particularly touching stories, including the elderly Straus couple who stayed in their cabin to die together, the violin players continuing to perform as the ship sank, and Benjamin Guggenheim changing into his formal dress and declaring “We are dressed in our best and are prepared to go down like gentlemen.”  The Titanic finally sank at around 2.20am, leaving thousands to die of hypothermia in the freezing ocean. Over 1,500 people died in the tragedy, with around 700 survivors rescued by the Cunard’s Carpathia. The demise of the ‘unsinkable’ Titanic shocked the world, and the tragic fate of a symbol of early twentieth-century optimism continues to captivate people’s imagination.

No comments: