Top 10 Facts About the Titanic Shipwreck
It was about 28°F. Passengers left to float in the cold waters would likely suffer from hypothermia and die in as little as 15 minutes.
In total, 706 people survived: 492 passengers and 214 crew members. The most likely to survive were 1st-class women, while 1st class in general had about a 61% survival rate. Standard Class had a 42% survival rate, while 3rd class had just a 24% survival rate.
There was a general fear that returning toward the sinking ship would result in lifeboats being overwhelmed by desperate victims and capsizing, as well as a fear of the risk of downward suction caused by the sinking Titanic. Apparently, 9 people were saved from the water, although 3 died from hypothermia.
Despite having a capacity of 65, only 12 people were on it. This boat contained five first-class passengers (including Sir Cosmo and Lady Lucy Duff Gordon) and seven crew members, and was named the 'Millionaire's Boat' by the press. The occupants were accused of ignoring cries for help from people in the water.
The Titanic had only 20 lifeboats on board, which at the time was technically legal, even though they could only fit 1,178 people in total. This was about one-third of the total number of people on board. If that's not bad enough, the lifeboats launched with significantly fewer people than they could actually hold. More lifeboats had been planned, but the decision was made not to bring them to avoid crowding the decks.
The Titanic could have survived if only four compartments were gashed, but the collision was enough to breach six. The Titanic would take in about 400 tons of water a minute.
Two of the lifeboats, collapsible boats A and B, just floated away. However, 30 people were able to kneel or sit on the overturned lifeboat B after failing to turn it over. Of the 20 lifeboats, 13 were recovered by the Carpathia and taken to New York.
It sank 2 hours and 40 minutes after the collision, while the first lifeboat was launched an hour after the collision. Apparently, the musicians played almost the entire time to try to calm the passengers down.
The Titanic's crew failed to fire the correct distress signals after hitting the iceberg. Random rockets were fired, most likely in desperation, but according to the British inquiry into the wreck, the message sent by the rockets' pattern never signaled "distress." Instead, the incorrect rocket pattern signaled to any ship in the area the message: "I'm having navigation problems. Please stand clear."
The ship's lookouts, Frederick Fleet and Reginald Lee, didn't have access to binoculars during the journey and therefore couldn't see very far. The ship's second officer was replaced at the last minute but forgot to hand off the key to the locker that contained the ship's binoculars. So, the people who were on lookout duty already had a disadvantage, and when they saw the iceberg, it was already too late. The ship hit the iceberg just 30 seconds after the first sighting.