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Titanic... the tragic loss of an "unsinkable" ship

One of the most famous events in history is the tragic sinking of Titanic. The ill-fated ship sank just four days after starting her maiden voyage from Southampton in England, killing over two thirds of the passengers on board. These events have been made into many films, books, and television documentaries as people still try to understand just what happened and how a ship said to be "unsinkable" could have met such a fate.

The History of the Titanic

Titanic was made by the White Star Line company, who decided to build ships to a size and level of luxury unlike anything before. The building of Titanic began in March of 1909 in Belfast in Ireland. There was much publicity and the ship was famous even before it was finished as news of its chandeliers, ballrooms and passenger rooms fitted with electric lights and heating. 

When it finally set sail from Southampton to New York on April 10th, 1912 it had 2,224 passengers and crew members on board yet was only equipped with 16 lifeboats which would only hold only 1,708 people. The White Star Line knew they should have had more but chose not to as they didn't want the decks to look cluttered and spoil the look of the ship.

On 14th April, four days into its voyage, Titanic received five ice warnings yet failed to slow down. When, at 11:40 at night a lookout spotted an iceberg but it was too late to turning around and hit the iceberg. This collision ripped a 300 foot long hole in the ship which immediately began filling the lower compartments with icy water.

It wasn't until forty-five minutes later that the first lifeboat was launched and by the time the last boat launched there were still more than 1,500 passengers left on the sinking ship. At 2:10 AM the rear of the ship rose out of the water and due to its vast weight the ship then split into two. Eventually Titanic completely sank. As there were not enough life jackets many people tried to cling to anything they could find that would float. Eventually 1,522 people died from drowning or hypothermia. 

When news of Titanic's distress was known the first to try and help was Arthur Rostron, an Englishman who was at the wheel of Carpathia. He was 58 miles away from the sinking vessel, and he knew that it would take him almost 4 hours travel this distance. He sent a message saying he was sailing fast and hard. Even though he would have to pass through the same dangerous, icy waters Captain Rostron did not hesitate. Carpathia was steaming as fast as the crew could make her go but the Titanic had gone under quickly. He and his crew were able to save some people, but by the time they had arrived just 710 people were still alive out of 2224.

The famous Carpathia was honoured as “the Titanic rescue ship”, but in 1918 Carpathia sank after being hit by 2 torpedoes fired by a German U boat.

The tragedy of Titanic is often referred to today as the "greatest maritime disaster in history."

This is an original news article © The Kids Window

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