The Titanic sunk early in the morning on April 15, 1912, killing more than 1,500 people. Ever since the disaster, many books, documentaries and movies have been made in order to get a better understanding of the events that took place that day. There were many factors that led to the Titanic's sinking, such as the iceberg it hit, the speed and direction of the ship's travels and a weak overall build.
Because icebergs are completely solid and often venture deep into the water, they are an ominous sight to passenger ships like the Titanic, which weren't built to withstand heavy impacts. The Titanic sideswiped the iceberg, which cut into its hull and several of its specially designed watertight compartments. This caused the flooding that eventually downed the ship. Had the iceberg been avoided, the Titanic probably would not have sunk.
Many historians and observers blame the captain of the ship, Edward J. Smith, for the sinking of the Titanic. Despite the fact that the captain received ice warnings, he continued to push along at 22.5 knots into the dark night. A report by Vicki Bassett in the Undergraduate Engineering Review states that this high speed, combined with cold temperatures and the fragility of the steel used to build the Titanic, caused the ship to sink rapidly. Professor Robert H. Essenhigh has theorised that the captain kept the Titanic moving at such a high rate of speed because he was trying to contain a fire in a coal bunker by burning coal and producing steam.
Louise Patten, the granddaughter of the most senior officer to survive the Titanic disaster, claims that a steering mistake was made by one of the members of the crew on the Titanic. In her book, which discusses long-held family secrets about the cause of the sinking of the Titanic, she says that when the crew member saw the iceberg, he was thrown into a state of panic, which affected his ability to do his job correctly. This crew member turned the wheel toward the iceberg, instead of away from it. She believes that the ship's crew should have had enough time to steer away from the iceberg, but simply could not execute the manoeuvre properly.
The builders of the Titanic called it "unsinkable" due to its size and the strength of the materials that they used. However, many historians who have studied the remains of the Titanic are thoroughly unconvinced that the Titanic was built in a strong way. Robert Ballard, an oceanographer who searched for the wreckage of the Titanic, found that the ship had broken into two pieces, which may have meant that the ship's steel was not very strong. Two scientists, Jennifer Hooper McCarty and Tim Foecke, investigated about 50 rivets from the Titanic and found that they contained high levels of "slag", a residue that could make the rivets prone to cracks and fractures.
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