Friday, April 15, 2011

The 99th Anniversary

Today, ninety-nine years ago, the R.M.S. Titanic sank to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. Approximately 1,517 passengers and crew members perished. Their stories -- told and untold -- will forever intrigue us. The Titanic  is something the world should never forget.

This timeline shows what took place on that fateful night.

April 14, 1912
Several ice warnings are received throughout the day.

11:40 p.m. - Lookouts spot the iceberg about five hundred yards away. Murdoch immediately orders the Titanic to go "hard-a-starboard" but the iceberg still scrapes the Titanic's starboard side of the ship. To many people the impact seems only to be a slight shudder.

11:50 p.m. - After only ten minutes the water rises to fourteen feet above the keel in the forward compartments.

Midnight - The mail room begins to flood. Thomas Andrews estimates that the ship can only stay above water for two hours at the most. Captain Smith orders to send out the distress signal.

April 15, 1912

12:05 a.m. - The order is given to prepare the lifeboats for launching.

12:15 a.m. - The Carpathia signals that they are on their way to assist. The ship's orchestra begin to play ragtime tunes in the first-class lounge.

12:25 a.m. - The lifeboats begin to be loaded.  Many boats are less than half full because the passengers do not realize the danger at hand.

12:45 a.m. - Lifeboat number 7 is the first to leave. The first distress rocket is fired.

1:15 a.m. - The water now reaches the Titanic's name on her bow. People begin to realize that they are really sinking and the lifeboats begin to leave more full.

1:30 a.m. -  Panic begins to spread among some passengers and Fifth Officer Lowe has to fire his fun into the air several times to keep people from jumping into lifeboat number 14. The distress calls become more desperate.

1:40 a.m. - Boat 15 begins its descent only moments after lifeboat 13. Lifeboat 13 begins to drift aft and almost gets crushed by lifeboat 15. Only at the last moment, the ropes are cut so that lifeboat 13 can row away.

2:05 a.m. -  Collapsible lifeboat D is the last boat to be successfully launched. The water is almost to the Promenade deck.

2:10 a.m. - Captain Smith releases the wireless operators from their duties.

2:17 a.m. - The last SOS is sent. Titanic's bridge plunges under and the forward funnel falls to the starboard.

2:18 a.m. - The Titanic reaches an angle of 45 to 50 degrees. The lights blink once then go out forever as she breaks in two. The bow section sinks but he stern begins to stay afloat.

2:20 a.m. - The stern slowly fills with water and sinks.

3:30 a.m. - Rockets are fired from the rescue ship, Carpathia and sighted by the lifeboats.

4:10 a.m. - Lifeboat number 2 is the first to be picked up.

8:30 a.m. - The last boat is picked up (lifeboat number 12) and Second Officer "Lucky Lightoller" is the last survivor to come on board.

8:50 a.m. - Carpathia begins her journey to New York carrying 705 survivors.