Monthly Archives: April 2012

World's Greatest Vessel Sinks on Maiden Voyage

[Here’s a news article from almost 100 years ago today that details an interesting event. Note that the $10 million mentioned in the story would represent over $225 million today]

Waterloo Chronicle-Telegraph, (Waterloo, ON, Canada), April 18, 1912, page 1

World’s Greatest Vessel Sinks on Maiden Voyage

Women and Children Constitute the Majority of those Saved While it is Believed That First Class Cabin Passengers are Probably Among Rescued

New York, April 15.—A message from the steamer Olympic reporting the sinking of the Titanic and the rescue of 675 survivors, which reached here late to-night, expressed the opinion that 1,800 lives were lost.

“Loss likely to total 1,800 souls,” the despatch read in its concluding sentence.

It is hoped and believed here that this is an error, unless the Titanic had more passengers on board than were reported. The list as given out showed 1,310 passengers and a crew of 860, or 2,170 persons in all. Deducting 675, the known saved, would indicate a loss of 1,495 persons.

The Olympic’s despatch follows—

“Carpathia reached Totanic position at daybreak. Found boats and wreckage only. Titanic sank about 2.20 a.m., in 41.16 N., 50.14 W. All her boats accounted for, containing about 675 souls saved, crew and passengers included. Nearly all saved were women and children. Leyland liner California remained and searching exact location of disaster. Loss likely to total 1,800 souls.”

Earlier Story Said 1,500 Lost.

More than 1,500 persons, it is feared, sank to their death yesterday, when within four hours after she crashed into an iceburg the mammoth White Star Liner Titanic, bound from Southampton to New York on her maiden voyage, foundered off the Newfoundland Banks. Of the approximately 2,200 persons on board the giant liner, some of them of world-wide prominence, only 675 are known to have been saved. The White Star Line offices in New York, while keeping up hope to the last, were free to admit that there had been “horrible loss of life.”

Greatest Marine Disaster.

Accepting the early estimates of the fatality list as accurate, the disaster is the greatest in the marine history of the world. Nearest approaching it in magnitude where the disasters to the steamer Atlantic in 1873, when 574 lives were lost, and to the Burgogne, in 1898, with a fatality list of 517. Should it prove that other liners, notably the Allan liners, Parisian and Virginian, known to have been in the vicinity of the Titanic, early yesterday, had picked up others of her passengers, the extent of the calamity would fortunately be greatly reduced. This hope still remains.

News of the sinking of the liner and the terrible loss of life in consequence came early last evening with all the greater shock because hope had been buoyed up all day by reports that the steamship, although badly damaged, was not in a sinking condition, and that all her passengers had been safely taken off. The messages were mostly unofficial, however, and none came direct from the liner, so that a lurking fear remained of bad news to come.

The First Bad News.

Shortly after 7 o’clock last night there came flashing over the wires from Cape Race, within 400 miles of which the liner, in the treacherous Newfoundland Banks region, had struck the berg which brought her to grief, that at 2.20 o’clock Monday morning, three hours and fifty-five minutes after receiving her death blow, the Titanic had sunk.

Arrived Too Late.

The news came from the steamer Carpathia, relayed by the White Star liner Olympic, and revealed that by the time the Carpathia, outward bound from New York, and racing for the Titanic on a wireless call, reached the scene, the doomed vessel had sunk.

Left on the surface, however, were lifeboats from the Titanic, and in them, as appears from the meagre reports received up to a late hour, were some 675 survivors of the disaster. These, according to advices, the Carpathia picked up, and is now in her way with them to New York.

For the rest, the scene as the Carpathia came up was one of desolation. All that remained of the $10,000,000 floating palace, on which nearly 1,400 passengers had been voyaging luxuriously to this side off the Atlantic, were some bits of wreckage. The biggest ship in the world had gone down, snuffing out in her downward plunge, it appeared, hundreds of human lives.

Doom Of Men On Board.

A significant line in the Cape Race despatch was the announcement that of those saved by the Carpathia nearly all were women and children. Should it prove that no other vessel picked up any passengers of the sinking liner this might mean that few of the men on board had been saved ,as the proportion of women and children among the passengers was large. The same facts would likewise spell the doom of practically the entire crew of 860.

In the cabins were 260 women and children, but it is not known how many there were among the 740 third-class passengers.

In the first cabin there were 128 women and 15 children, and in the second cabin 70 women and 8 children.

A Faint Ray Of Hope.

A ray of hope appeared shortly before 11 o’clock last night in a message to New York from the operator at the Marconi wireless station at Sable Island, near the scene of the disaster. Answering an inquiry regarding the delivery of wireless messages to the passengers of the Titanic, the operator reported that it was difficult to deliver them, “as the passengers are believed to be dispersed among several vessels.” Even this faint indication that other vessels than the Carpathia had picked up survivors of the Titanic was eagerly seized upon by thousands of relatives and friends of those who had set sail.