In the early morning hours 88 years ago today – April 15th — a large ship with 2,200 souls aboard hit an iceberg in the cold North Atlantic Ocean, subsequently breaking in half, and sinking to the ocean floor about 13,000 feet below the surface. And no, despite the 1997 movie Titanic accurately depicting many aspects of the real-life scene, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet were not on-board, nor was the Heart of the Ocean diamond.
Just five days prior to this, the Titanic had departed England on its first (and last) voyage. It was lauded as one of the largest, fastest, and most luxurious ships ever built, sporting cigar rooms, Turkish baths, reception rooms, and a gymnasium, among other appointments.
Of all the passengers and crew aboard, around 1,500 either sank with the ship or succumbed to the frigid waters of the North Atlantic. Only about 700 survived, mostly women and children. A lack of lifeboats on a ship thought to be unsinkable is attributed as the cause of this massive loss of life. Since that time, it has also come to light that a ship just twenty miles away did not respond to distress calls from the Titanic because the operator was off-duty at the time.
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