Titanic: What Happend?

Titanic SailingIn the moments at sea before Titanic struck the fateful iceberg and the disaster began, is where most of the problems that contributed to the sinking of Titanic occurred. Many warnings were sent to the captain of the ship, knowledge of the frozen waters, how the crew reacted, the time they had after realizing the danger, and the damage of the strike are all encompassing to the disaster that took the lives of more than 1,000 passengers.

To begin, there were many lookouts and warnings given to the captain before the ship had struck the iceberg. The water was known in that area to be frozen and iceberg-filled waters. However, despite this knowledge, the captain still marched the ship at nearly maximum speed. This would later become a problem, and ultimately contribute to the strike of the iceberg on Titanic. The Titanic received seven warnings throughout the day, April 14th, before the strike on the iceberg. During the evening of the 14th, the ship entered an area known to house many icebergs throughout its waters. Captain Smith had only corrected Titanic’s course towards a slight degree south, while still maintaining the same speed of 22 knots. At around 9:40pm that evening, a warning was sent by the Mesaba informing the captain of an ice field ahead. The warning, however, never made it to the Titanic’s bridge, which is where the Captain stayed. At approximately 11:40pm, just 400 miles from Newfoundland, Canada, the fateful iceberg was sighted and the information was relayed to the bridge. Captain Smith then reversed the engines and began to steer the ship clear to the left of the iceberg, however, it was already too close to avoid a collision. There was just 30 seconds between the sighting and reporting of the iceberg until the collision that would fatally damage Titanic. The iceberg sliced through nearly 300 feet of the ship’s hull and allowed water to flow through six of Titanic’s sixteen major watertight compartments. From the strike of the iceberg to the final dying breath of Titanic, roughly 36,000 tons of water flooded through the ship.

Black & White Sailing Titanic

Onto communications, Titanic had a wireless operator onboard that should have been feeding information to the Captain as he steered the ship through the icy waters. The operator, John George “Jack” Phillips, was a British sailor and the senior wireless operator aboard the Titanic during its last breaths. He sadly was a victim of the icy waters after the sinking of Titanic. However, the wireless operators are in charge of just that, wireless communications. This came into play as contact to other ships nearby for saving once Titanic was struck by the iceberg. There were three ships in the surrounding area of the Titanic. The Sampson, Californian, and Carpathia. Between these three ships, only one rushed in to help save lives from the wreck. That ship was Carpathia. Once the distress signals from Titanic were sent and the flares were launched upwards, Carpathia responded quickly. The distress cries came over the radio from Titanic, to which Captain Arthur Rostron swiftly adjusted the ship’s course towards Titanic’s direction. The Carpathia made it to the scene of the disaster at 3:30am, just over an hour after Titanic had fully sunk below the surface. Carpathia did all it could by helping those who were stranded along the lifeboats of Titanic and securing them for transport back to safety.

Due to Captain Rostron’s heroic efforts, 705 stranded lives were saved from the frigid cold climate. Unlike Carpathia, Californian did not intervene in the cycle of death that was Titanic’s situation. Carpathia was 58 miles away from Titanic when the distress signals came through. Californian, however, was almost a third of that distance at only 20 miles away. Californian had gotten the same distress signals Carpathia, and could even visibly see the rockets shot to attract rescue ships to the crash site. Californian, however, decided the opposite as Carpathia and ignored Titanic’s distress calls. Captain Stanley Lord was in charge of operating the Californian. He made the choice to not engage with Titanic. His reasoning: the waters were too ice-filled to safely act. Actually, Californian was the one who warned Titanic of the ice-packed fields in the area at the time. While Californian continued on its course throughout the night, Carpathia was swift to the rescue which is why so many lives were able to be saved. Californian planned to visit the crash site after daybreak because of the ease of visibility and ice-fields clearing up. However, the main issue with this plan was the fact that if the survivors were to have waited throughout the night on the lifeboats, they would have simply not survived. Due to the sub-freezing temperatures, the Californian would have come to the “rescue” and be met with stranded lifeboats full of corpses. Without the quick-thinking efforts of Captain Rostron of Carpathia, over 700 lives may have been forfeit to the watery depths below.