The Survivors of the Titanic Tragedy


Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

This article was originally published in August 2016.

The Titanic was a famed passenger ship that hit an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean on 15 April 1912. It is remembered in history as one of the greatest tragedies of the 20th century, despite the fact that its makers claimed that the ship was ‘unsinkable’. It sailed from Southampton in England to New York in North America with 2223 passengers on board. Not many people know that the primary reason for the loss of so many lives was due to a lack of ample lifeboats. Although the upper deck was designed to carry 62 lifeboats, it contained only 20 of them. The number of lifeboats was reduced in order to make the deck look more appealing to the passengers. Additionally, after the ship struck the iceberg, poorly trained crew cast off quite a few lifeboats even though they held only half their capacity.

The above image is of Lifeboat 14, headed by Fifth Officer Harold Lowe, which returned to save four more people. The photograph shows a group of survivors approaching the rescue ship RMS Carpathia. It was shot by a passenger on board called Louis Mansfield Ogden. He was an ordinary passenger on the ship, who happened to have a camera. His swift presence of mind has resulted in one of the most iconic visual documentations of the tragedy.

On that fateful night, the temperature of the water was roughly -2°C. Those who jumped off the ship and tried to swim in the freezing water died of exhaustion. Others who were rescued died of hypothermia, as there was barely any protection from the biting cold. The rescue operation lasted for four hours until all the remaining lifeboats were picked up. Carpathia managed to save roughly 706 passengers and two dogs.

Tags: Story Behind the Picture, june 2012, Titanic, survivors of the titanic tragedy, Louis Mansfield Ogden, The photographer who captures Titanic survivors