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Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Almost 100 years agoPosted Wednesday, April 14, 2010, at 11:28 AM
It's hard to fathom that almost 100 years ago, Titanic sunk.
The ship was though to be "unsinkable."
The RMS Titanic, an Olympic-class passenger liner owned by White Star Line, was the largest passenger steamship in the world when it was constructed.
But just before midnight April 14, 1912, only four days into the ship's maiden voyage, Titanic struck an iceberg and sank just two hours and 40 minutes later.
A total of 1,517 of the 2,223 people on board perished.
When the ship set sail for America from Southampton, England, it was equipped with a lifeboat capacity for 1,178 people. In contrast, the ship's maximum capacity was 3,547.
That Sunday evening in 1912, temperatures dropped to near freezing and the ocean was calm.
The sky was clear but the moon was not visible.
The Captain of the ship, Edward J. Smith, drew up new course to take the ship further southward as a result of several iceberg warnings.
Two different steamships sent warnings to the Titanic about icebergs in its path as well.
Just before midnight April 14, 1912, about 400 miles south of Newfoundland, lookouts spotted a large iceberg directly ahead of the ship.
Despite adjusting the ship's path, Titanic struck the berg, brushing the starboard side.
The iceberg buckled the hull in several places and rivets popped out, causing seawater to fill forward compartments.
The ship was designed to stay afloat with four flooded compartments. But at the time, five were filling with water, causing the ship to be weighed down.
Lifeboats were ordered to be ready shortly after midnight April 15 and a distress call was sent out.
Several ships responded to the distress call, but none were close enough to make it in time before Titanic's sinking.
Carpathia was the closest, as it was 58 miles away. It was estimated it could arrive in four hours, which was also too late.
At approximately 2:10 a.m., the stern of the ship rose out of the water, exposing the propellers.
As the ship's stern rose, anything unsecured crashed into the water.
Minutes later, the stress on the hull cause the ship to split.
Only 10 minutes later, the stern then sank into the ocean.
Carpathia finally arrived at 4:10 a.m. for a rescue.
Only 706 of the 2,223 people aboard the Titanic survived.
The last survivor of the ship, Millvina Dean, died May 31, 2009.
Seventy-three years after the ship sank, this "unsinkable" shop was discovered by an American-French expedition led by Jean-Louis Michel and Dr. Robert Ballard. To date, approximately 6,000 artifacts have been removed from the wreckage, many of which are on display at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England.