Sinking of the Titanic

14 - the number of years prior to the disaster that US author Morgan Robertson wrote the novel Futility, in which an ocean liner named Titan strikes an iceberg on her maiden voyage.

2,179,594 - the number of passengers carried by the White Star Line in the previous 10 years.

2 - the number of White Star Line passengers killed during that 10 year period.

4 - the number of days into the Titanic maiden voyage when the collision occurred.

Drawing of the sinking of the Titanic by Henry Reuterdahl

6 - the number of ice warnings the Titanic received before the collision.

22.5 - the ship's speed in knots whilst traveling amid iceberg laden waters, just .5 knots below the top speed of 23 knots.

30 seconds - the length of time between the first sighting of the iceberg to the impact.

4 - the number of forward compartments that could flood without risk of the Titanic sinking.

6 - the number of forward compartments that were ruptured in the collision.

5mm - the minimum amount of movement of the hull's steel plates before the wrought iron rivets used in her curved sections would fail. Due to access difficulties in using a pneumatic riveting machine to construct the curved sections of the hull, these steel plates were sealed using wrought iron rivets rather than the stronger steel rivets used elsewhere; iron rivets were easier to hammer into place. As shipbuilding moved to using steel instead of iron plates in the construction of hulls, this practice was widespread. However, forensic tests undertaken in 1996 by Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore revealed that, in the case of the Titanic, these iron rivets would fail with just a 5mm movement of the steel plates they were meant to secure.

"From the very day that she was designed she was almost doomed...this [the use of iron rivets] was almost the Achilles heel of the Titanic." Paul Louden-Brown, White Star Line Archivist

400 miles - the ship's distance from land (640 km), when the iceberg was struck.

160 minutes - the time it took the Titanic to sink after hitting the iceberg (2 hours and 40 minutes).

The New York Times front page story on the disaster

60 minutes - the delay between the collision and the first Titanic lifeboats launching.

220 to 245 feet - the estimated length of the gash caused by the collision (minimum to maximum length).

12 - the actual estimated size of the opening, in cubic feet.

400 tonnes - the approximate amount of water the Titanic took on per minute after the collision.

58 miles - distance of the rescuing vessel Carpathia, at the time of the distress call.

15 minutes - the approximate time that the ship took to reach the ocean floor.

10 mph - the speed at which the Titanic sank to the bottom of the ocean (16 km/h).

"I heard a graphic account of how the Titanic up-ended herself and remained poised like some colossal nightmare of a fish, her tail high in the air, her nose deep in the water, until she dived finally from human sight" Arthur Rostron, Captain of the rescue ship Carpathia, in 'Home From The Sea', 1931

-2°C - the temperature of the sea water.

15 - 45 minutes - the typical maximum life expectancy of the Titanic victims in the water.

"Striking the water was like a thousand knives being driven into one's body. The temperature was 28 degrees, four degrees below freezing." Charles Lightoller, Titanic Second Officer

For even more Titanic facts please visit the home page. Read about the Titanic wreck in numbers.


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