When most people discuss the Titanic, it is easy to get trapped in thinking about all those who died while hoping to change their lives on the luxury ship.
Although there could have been many more survivors had nautical protocols of the time been followed, the White Star Line is lucky that hundreds of its passengers were able to live long enough to tell the story of what happened on that horrendous night.
Without the survivors, the Titanic would have just been another vessel lost to the ocean.
How Many People Survived The Titanic?
There were only 706 survivors from the sinking of the RMS Titanic, 492 of whom were passengers and 214 crew members.
The tragedy occurred in the early hours of April 15th of 1912 and resulted in the deaths of the majority of the passengers.
When the passengers purchased their tickets, they had the option of first class through third class.
First class offered the finest luxury that the White Star Line had to offer, which was being premiered on the RMS Titanic’s maiden voyage.
Although first class was the most expensive option and was often more than most of the passengers had in their life’s savings, being in a higher class proved to be a safer option for men, women, and children.
Sixty-one percent of first class passengers survived the sinking of the Titanic and 42% of second class passengers survived.
Sadly, the third class passengers were not as lucky, regardless of their age and gender, which resulted in only 24% of third class passengers surviving.
Third class passengers were fit into lifeboats as possible.
This often meant that third class mothers could only take their smallest children and had to leave their older children behind.
Although the Titanic crew wasn’t able to get the majority of second class and third class passengers off of the sinking vessel, 75% of all the female passengers did survive.
Only 20% of male passengers survived the sinking.
Crew members made up about 22% of the survivors, despite only 214 of the crew members surviving overall.
Out of the crew that survived, 87% of the crewmates were women.
Four out of the eight Navigational Officers were able to join lifeboats, but every single Engineering Officer bravely stayed on the sinking boat to keep it afloat for as long as possible.
Who Was The Youngest Survivor?
Eliza “Millvina” Dean was the youngest survivor and only nine weeks old when her parents brought her on the Titanic as third class passengers.
The Dean family was never meant to board the Titanic but had been shifted to the Titanic due to a worker strike.
The Deans were emigrating from England to Kansas in the hope of finding a better life and had packed everything they owned in their luggage.
Eliza Dean, her brother, and her mother were saved by her father who heard the impact of the iceberg.
He quickly got his wife out of bed and had her prep their young children to go to the top deck.
This allowed the Deans to be one of the first few families on the top deck and pushed his wife and children to the front of a growing queue of people.
In the confusion, Eliza Dean and her mother were able to slip onto the lifeboat as if they had gone through the queue and were some of the first third class passengers to get seats.
Without their father and husband, the Dean family saw no point in going to a place with no support and knew that they would have to brave the seas again on their journey back home to England.
Although the voyages were filled with despair, Eliza Dean had become a beacon of hope for the world and became known as the baby who survived the sinking of the Titanic.
Young Dean offered a distraction for passengers and crew as people took turns holding the young child and taking photos with her that would later appear in newspapers.
Eliza Dean would go on to live until she was 97 years old before passing away in 2009.
She spent her entire life gladly giving interviews about the Titanic.
Who Was the Oldest Survivor?
The oldest survivor was 61-year-old George Harris, who was actually one of the few second class male survivors.
Harris was a retired gardener who had a room right at the stern of the Titanic and was fast asleep when the boat hit the iceberg.
According to Harris, the impact wasn’t what woke him up, but rather, he was awakened 10 minutes later when an ice storm began to hit the top deck.
The roaring waves of ice sounded like thunder to the old gardener and made him feel the urge to go check out the situation.
Harris was given a seat in a lifeboat after there was no reply for whether or not there were any more women or children aboard.
As he helped the other men on his lifeboat row themselves to safety, Harris was forced to face the Titanic as it sank.
Watching the Titanic break into two pieces and sink was described by Harris as “the most agonizing moment of my life.”
Not only did Harris have to witness the horrific sight, but he had to hear the screams of all those who were not able to make it onto lifeboats.
From where they were rowing, Harris could clearly see the rail of the Titanic separating and then watched a group of second-class passengers scrambling for their lives as the icy water inched closer to them.
When the rail snapped, it sent the entire group into the water and a haunting chorus of blood-curdling screams filled the air.
As more pieces of the ship began to break, the people clinging to the pieces for dear life were violently thrown into the ocean.
Many of the people Harris witnessed get swallowed by the ocean were much younger than him and some of the remaining victims were even children.
Who Was “The Unsinkable Molly Brown”?
Margaret Brown is the Titanic survivor who is best known as “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” thanks to her ability to take command and make up for the lack of leadership aboard her lifeboat.
She is often credited for keeping that lifeboat alive.
Brown had lived an incredible life before she had become such a prolific part of the Titanic’s story.
Despite growing up poor her entire life, Brown was set on marrying for love over wealth or reputation and married a man who went on to become incredibly wealthy.
Not that their finances were no longer a concern, Molly Brown spent her days traveling the world, mingling with other socialites, putting much of her energy into her philanthropic work.
Even among her friends, Brown was known for getting things done and doing things with her own two hands.
Brown had decided to take the Titanic because her grandchild had fallen terribly ill and the RMS Titanic was the fastest way for her to get home from her trip to Egypt.
As people scrambled to find lifeboats, Molly Brown fought tooth and nail to get her spot on a lifeboat to see her sick grandchild.
Brown grabbed an oar and sat in one of the lifeboats, as the seats began to fill with more concerned passengers.
The entire time, “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” kept a level head, even as the crew member who was supposed to be leading their lifeboat began to panic.
After the word of Molly Brown’s heroic actions spread, she became famous and incredibly popular.
With her newfound platform, Brown campaigned for women’s rights and education for the poor.
In 1914, Molly Brown ran for Senate, but the campaign was halted by World War I.
Rather than sit back, Brown went to help rebuild France.
How “Miss Unsinkable” Violet Jessop Survived Three Ship Accidents
Violet Jessop served as a nurse for the White Star Line and was one of the female crew members to be saved from the sinking of the Titanic.
However, the Titanic would only be the first of three different White Star Line ship accidents that Jessop would survive.
The Titanic hadn’t even been the first time that Jessop had survived the unthinkable.
Jessop was the first of her siblings to survive infancy and would go on to become the eldest of six children.
When she was young, Jessop had caught tuberculosis and her doctors predicted that it would end up being fatal.
Even from a young age, she was a survivor and had enough resilience to make it through the illness.
When the RMS Titanic was built, it was built alongside two other sister ships that were of a similar design and size.
After her time on the Titanic, Violet Jessop went on to work on the HMHS Britannic, and she had worked on the RMS Olympic before the RMS Titanic.
Only a year before the sinking of the Titanic, the Olympic had been in an accident as it was leaving the port in Southampton and had collided with the British warship, the HMS Hawke.
Luckily, there were no casualties caused by the accident and the sink was able to make it back to the dock without sinking.
During World War I in 1916, the White Star Line turned some of their ships into hospitals and Violet Jessop worked on the HMHS Britannic as a stewardess for the British Red Cross.
Despite not even being out at sea, disaster still managed to strike when an explosion went off on the morning of November 21st, 1916.
Researchers believe it was either a torpedo or a planted mine from German forces.
The Survivor Who Spotted The Iceberg
Frederick Fleet was a 25-year-old sailor who was one of five lookouts for the RMS Titanic and was the first one to spot the iceberg.
It was his first time as a sailor, and he was eager to join the Titanic for her maiden voyage.
On the night of April 14th of 1912, Fleet had been paired up with fellow lookout Reginald Lee.
Before the previous lookout team had left, they warned Fleet and Lee about the ice chunks they had spotted and reminded them to remain vigilant.
Fleet took their advice to heart and waited with bated breath.
As soon as he saw the iceberg, he began ringing the emergency bell wildly and notified the bridge as fast as he could.
Frederick Fleet is best known for making the call to bridge “Iceberg! Right ahead!”
This alarm has even been quoted in movie adaptations.
Although Fleet was fast with his call, he wasn’t fast enough to stop the Titanic from hitting the iceberg.
His shift didn’t end until people were already getting into lifeboats, and he was immediately ordered into lifeboat six as soon as he reached the deck.
While on the boat, he was still panicking, and “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” took over his leadership role.
When Fleet got back on land, he was immediately questioned by nearly everyone he met.
Most people blamed the crew for what happened to the Titanic and all the victims of the sinking.
For decades, Fleet suffered from immeasurable guilt and suffered from depression that eventually got to be too much for him to bear.
In 1965, Frederick Fleet committed suicide.
Although Fleet’s body may have made it through the tragedy, many parts of him died with the unfortunate passengers who couldn’t get onto a lifeboat.
The Only Japanese Survivor
Masabumi Hosono was not only the only Japanese traveler on the RMS Titanic, but he also managed to find a seat and survive.
Much like Frederick Fleet, Masabumi found that surviving that night would lead to intense public dismay.
Masabumi had been working on a study in Russia and had gone to England to catch the RMS Titanic on his way home to his wife and daughter.
He had been studying Russia’s railroad operations and booked his second class ticket when he got to Southampton.
Masabumi was asleep when the Titanic hit the iceberg and caused the boat to begin sinking.
It was a crew member’s loud knocking that had roused him from his sleep.
When Masabumi Hosono opened the door, the crew member ordered him to the lower deck of the ship, due to his race.
However, the lower decks were further from the lifeboats and presented him with little to no chance of survival.
Determined to see his wife and daughter again, Masabumi made his way to the lifeboats and looked for an opportunity.
As soon as some crew members announced that there were two spots in lifeboats, Masabumi witnessed another man jump into the lifeboat and he quickly decided to follow suit.
When Masabumi was sent to New York along with many other survivors, he initially had no clue how he was going to get home.
With the help of friends and the interviews he gave while in the United States, Masabumi Hosono was able to make it back to his family in Japan.
At first, Masabumi was praised for surviving the traumatic event.
However, the American newspapers began turning against him after one first-class survivor called him a “stowaway.”
This quickly translated to the Japanese public questioning his honor for not giving the seat to someone else.
Trouble For The Carter Family
William E. Carter and his wife Lucille Polk Carter had traveled to England with their two children, governess, valet, and polo ponies in order to allow Mr. Carter to play polo for the Bryn Mawr Benedicts.
These Baltimore natives were only the ones from Baltimore on the ship and were prolific socialites in the area at the time.
As they were boarding the RMS Titanic with all the things they had brought to England, they also brought their brand new French Renault automobile.
When the Titanic’s crew began to fill up and release the lifeboats, Mr. Carter got separated from his wife and kids.
It had seemed like the last time that the Carters would ever see each other again as William Carter lowered his wife and children into their lifeboat.
However, he was also able to find a seat on another lifeboat that was released later.
Mrs. Carter and her two children were rescued by the Carpathia, but they didn’t know that William Carter had also been rescued on the same boat.
When Lucille Carter went up for fresh air at 8:00 am, she saw her seemingly dead husband leaning against the rail.
The first thing that William Carter nonchalantly told his wife was that he had a good breakfast and was surprised to see her alive because he didn’t think that she and the children would ever make it.
When Lucille Carter asked her husband how he had survived, he claimed that he was on the same boat as J. Bruce Ismay, an executive member of the White Star Line.
However, historians and Lucille Carter both doubted this story because Ismay’s lifeboat had left 15 minutes prior.
By 1914, Lucille Carter sued for divorce due to “cruel and barbarous treatment and indignities to the person.”
How One Officer Made It Off The Titanic Alive
Charles Lightoller had been sailing since he was 13 years old and had plenty of experience on the sea by the time he took his job aboard the RMS Titanic as one of the Navigational Officers who ended up surviving.
Lightoller began working for the White Star Line in 1900 and had worked his way up to the position of Second Officer by the time he was on the Titanic.
When the iceberg hit, he had just made it back to his room after handing the shift off to the First Officer.
After he had been informed that water had reached the F deck, he sprang into action and began handling the lifeboats.
The daunting job meant that he had to ultimately decide who was going to live and who was going to have to die.
Lightoller had learned that the lifeboats couldn’t handle the weight of max capacity, so he strictly ordered that the lifeboats not be filled to the maximum and instead made the judgment calls on when to lower lifeboats.
There was an instance when men had taken over a lifeboat and Charles Lightoller had to threaten them with his revolver and remove the troublesome men from the lifeboat to make more room for women and children.
After all the lifeboats had been released, Lightoller took two collapsible canvases and made two boats out of them.
Although he originally had no intention of leaving his men behind, it was his men who insisted that he should live so he could prevent such a tragedy from ever happening again.