When did the Titanic sink? Date the ship sank, how many people died – and where it left from
The fate of the Titanic is considered one of history’s greatest tragedies, and 2022 will mark 110 years since it sank in the North Atlantic Ocean.
The RMS Titanic, a luxury British liner considered unsinkable at the time, met with disaster on its maiden voyage in 1912.
Many people know the story of the Titanic from James Cameron’s hit movie starring Leonard DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, but it’s easy to blur the lines between fact and fiction.
That’s all you need to know about what really happened.
When did the Titanic set sail – and from where?
The Titanic departed on her maiden voyage on April 10, 1912, from Southampton, England, and embarked on her transatlantic journey to New York in the United States with approximately 2,200 passengers and crew on board.
The route the Titanic was to take would have seen it reach New York via Cherbourg, France, and Queenstown, Ireland. The return route would have been from New York to Plymouth to Cherboug and Southampton.
Construction of the ship had begun two years earlier in Belfast and was completed on March 31, 1912, just over a week before she set sail.
The Titanic was designed to be extremely luxurious – first class accommodation included things like squash courts, swimming pool, gymnasium and hair salon. Even the third class cabins have been designed to be of a higher standard than other liners.
Titanic’s capacity was designed to accommodate 735 first class passengers, 674 second class, 1,026 third class and 885 crew.
The Titanic was under the command of Captain Edward Smith, a British naval officer who had captained several White Star Line ships.
What happened to the Titanic?
The first days of the Titanic’s voyage passed without incident, but on the evening of April 14, 1912, the ship began to approach an area known to have icebergs.
Captain Smith is reported to have said in 1907 that he “could not imagine any condition which would cause a ship to sink” and that “modern shipbuilding has gone beyond that”.
According to the Winter 1985/86 edition of Oceanus (Volume 28, Number 4), on the day of the tragedy, “passengers exercising on deck first noticed patches of drifting ice” however, “this did not alarm seasoned travelers who explained to others that ships on the northern express route often encountered ice in April”.
The Titanic received a number of iceberg warnings from other ships, including the Atlantic Line’s Mesaba at around 9.40pm and again at 10.55pm from the nearby liner Leyland Californian. However, the Titanic continued to move at full speed.
At around 11:40 p.m. an iceberg was sighted by a lookout and in response the engines were reversed and the vessel steered sharply to avoid a direct collision. However, the Titanic rather brushed the tip of the iceberg.
Unbeknownst to the lookouts at the time who thought they had narrowly avoided the catastrophe, the jagged part of the iceberg hidden by the water had in fact caused the rupture of five compartments of the Titanic, supposedly watertight.
When did the Titanic sink?
With five of the compartments breached, Titanic’s fate was sealed as she could not have survived more than four of the flooded compartments.
After hitting the iceberg, the Titanic began to sink bow-first, causing more water to spill from compartment to compartment.
The sinking of the ship was accelerated when, about two and a half hours after hitting the iceberg, Titanic’s boat deck fell underwater and, as her unsupported stern rose out of the water, exposing the propellers , the Titanic split in two .
While the Titanic sent out distress signals around 12:20 a.m. on April 15, all ships that received the signal were too far away to intervene.
It was later discovered that the liner Leyland Californian, which had previously warned the Titanic of the ice, was less than 20 miles away at the time of the disaster – however signals for help were not received as the operator radio had been on leave.
The Titanic struck the iceberg around 20 minutes to midnight on April 14. The sinking of the ship took place in two hours and 40 minutes, and it sank in the early hours of April 15.
The liner sank about 370 miles southeast of the coast of Newfoundland in Canada.
How many people died?
While the Titanic could hold over 3,000 people on board, there were only 20 lifeboats on board, which could only have accommodated 1,178 people.
The lifeboat problem was further exacerbated by their launching well below capacity. For example, the first lifeboat could have held 65 people, but left with only 28 on board.
The panic and confusion caused by the incident meant that almost all lifeboats were severely understaffed.
The remaining passengers and crew members were subjected to fatally cold waters with a temperature of -2°C. This type of sudden exposure to freezing water usually results in death from cardiac arrest or incapacitation from the cold.
After the Titanic sank at around 2:20 a.m. on 15 April, the first lifeboat was recovered at 4:10 a.m. by RMS Carpathia responding to Titanic’s distress calls it had sent earlier.
On April 15, 1912, 1,523 people lost their lives as a result of the sinking of the Titanic – 815 passengers and 688 crew members. Only 706 people survived the sinking of the Titanic.