Saturday, February 4, 2012

Watching 'Titanic' right now...

…as an adult, I can more fully comprehend the tragedy of the whole thing. Especially so near to the 100th anniversary of the sinking.
It is amazing how big of a clusterfuck it became. The 20 lifeboats on the ship could hold 40 people {Lifeboats 1 and 2}, 65 people {Lifeboats 3-16} or 47 people {Collapsibles A-D}. And of the 2,203 people on board, that meant only about half the people on board would optimistically be saved had the lifeboats been filled to capacity, or about 1,178 people could’ve been saved.

As it was, 706 people were saved from the ship. Out of 2,203, that’s about a third {or maybe more, maybe less, Math isn’t my strong suit} that were saved. Mostly because the boats were inadequately filled. As we might remember from the movie, when Thomas Andrews is asking Second Officer Lightoller why the boats are being launched half full. Lightoller says that they were concerned about the weight and that “some of the boats may buckle”. Andrews says this is “rubbish. They were tested in Belfast with the weight of seventy men!” One boat, Lifeboat #1 was launched with only 12 people, and the first Lifeboat, #7, was launched with 28 people. An inordinate amount of first class passengers were rescued as the third class passengers had no idea how to get up to the boat decks because the hallways were confusing and not clearly marked. One of the third class stewards, John Hart, led people from third class up to the decks in two trips, but a lot of people were left behind even with his help.

Like I said, complete clusterfuck, but in a way, it was…I don’t want to say good, but the fact that it helped change a lot of ship and maritime regulations means that at least those people didn’t die completely in vain.

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