CARACAS, Wednesday April 01, 2009 | Update
Only 707 out of 2,224 passengers and crew members survived the sinking of the RMS Titanic, caused when the ship struck an iceberg in its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York, on April 14th, 1912, near the coast of Newfoundland. A German explorer found in Egypt the tomb of Nefertiti, the wife of Pharaoh Amenofis IV. Pu Yi, the last China's emperor and a member of the Qing dynasty, abdicated on February 12th, thus marking the end of 2,000 years of imperial regime
The RMS Titanic sank during its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York (Photo: Andrés Mata Foundation)
Shortly before the midnight of April 14th, 1912, during its
maiden voyage from Southampton to New York, the RMS Titanic,
the largest and most luxurious passenger boat at that time,
sank after crashing on an iceberg near the coast of Newfoundland.
A total of 1,517 out of the 2,224 people onboard drowned or died due to hypothermia. The accident occurred in the fifth day of the journey, when the RMS Titanic travelled at full speed on the icy waters of the North Atlantic. It struck an ice floe and took three hours to break down and sink. Some passengers were sleeping at 11:40 p.m. and they probably did not realize the disaster.
Life boats were not enough to vacate all the passengers; therefore, women and children were given the priority. Disembarkation was so disorganized that some boats left almost empty and some were overcrowded. After four hours of wait, 707 survivors were rescued by another passenger boat, the Carpathia, which took them to New York. Dozen bodies, luggage and remains of the shipwreck arrived in the coast of New Scotland, Canada.
Casualties included aristocrats and tycoons, but also third-class passengers who could hardly went up on deck in order to take the life boats.
The ship was viewed as a true palace afloat. It contained halls, restaurants, swimming pools and gardens. Its builder, Bruce Ismay, reasserted that the ship was "unsinkable" due to its double-bottom hull divided into 16 compartments. However, the floating fortress failed to complete its very first journey.
Ismay survived the disaster, as opposed to Captain Edward J. Smith, who sank together with his ship.
After the disaster, from 1913, international navigation laws required ships to carry enough life boats for all passengers and crew members. Also, an ice patrol was established in the North Atlantic to prevent such accidents.
Other salient news in 1912 included the discovery of the tomb of Nefertiti, the wife of Pharaoh Amenofis IV, by a German mission headed by explorer Ludwig Borchard in Tel al Amarna, Egypt.
In the field of international policy, the Balkan League was born as Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece and Montenegro joined efforts against, and defeated, a common foe -the Ottoman Empire.
Pu Yi, the last China's emperor and a member of the Qing dynasty, abdicated on February 12th, ending with 2,000 years of imperial government.
On March 1912, explorer Robert F. Scott died on his way back to England from the South Pole, which he failed to conquer despite arriving at it in early January.
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