Rare Photos of the Titanic Sinking

By: Mia Williams | Last updated: Jun 03, 2022

A Ship That Sunk On Its Maiden Voyage

At the time that it sunk, the Titanic was the largest ship in the entire world. Before it set off on its maiden voyage, the ship had received extensive attention for its size and luxurious first-class accommodations. This coverage made the disaster all the more shocking.

Read on below to see rare and shocking photographs of one of the most devastating sinking of the famed ship, Titanic.

Not Enough Lifeboats

Although there were approximately 2,224 people aboard the Titanic, the ship only had 20 lifeboats, enough to carry 1,178 people. While this was in line with regulations at the time of the sinking, the massive ship had the space for 32 lifeboats.


Why did the ship set off with so few lifeboats? Prior to the sinking, there were concerns that carrying too many lifeboats would make the deck look covered. The disaster sparked changes to safety regulations to ensure a disaster like this wouldn’t happen again.


Struck By An Iceberg

On the evening of April 14th, a lookout spotted an iceberg in the ship’s path. While the bridge was immediately alerted, it was too late to change course, and the Titanic hit the iceberg on its starboard size. The collision dented the hull, causing water to rush in.


It’s believed that the iceberg pictured here may have been the one that struck the Titanic. It was photographed by a steward on another ship the day after the sinking. The steward reported seeing red paint at the base of the iceberg.

The Disaster Spirals Out of Control

It quickly became clear that the Titanic was doomed. While the ship immediately sent out distress calls, these calls directed rescuers to the wrong location. Because the ship did not have a public address system, passengers had to be notified of the crash by stewards.


The crew was not trained for a disaster, and the ship’s loud boilers made it difficult to give instructions to the ship’s passengers. Not only did the Titanic not have enough lifeboats for everyone, but many boats had room for more when they entered the sea.

Women and Children First

The captain of the Titanic, Edward Smith, knew that there weren’t enough lifeboats for all the ship’s passengers. Because of this, he issued an order that the ships should be boarded by women and children first. To make matters worse, many passengers were reluctant to enter the lifeboats.


If all of the lifeboats on the Titanic had been filled to capacity when they were lowered, it would have been possible to save an additional 500 people. When the ship sank, over 1,000 passengers and crew members were still on board.

Rescued By The Carpathia

Since the distress signal sent ships to the wrong location, it took hours for survivors to be rescued. Lifeboats were spotted by the RMS Carpathia at about 3:30 AM. Because of the frigid temperatures, some people died on lifeboats before they could be rescued.

While some survivors were able to climb aboard the ship via rope ladders, others had to be hoisted onto the ship. Mail sacks were used to get children onto the ship. The last lifeboat was rescued by the Carpathia at 9:00 AM.


Recovering From a Disaster

Once they were brought on board, survivors were quickly given dry clothes and blankets. While survivors were excited to be rescued, the mood on the ship became somber when people on board were not reunited with their loved ones. The ship changed course so that survivors could receive medical attention.

By the time other ships arrived on the scene, there were no more survivors left to rescue. In spite of this, the ships continued to search the water for hours, hoping to find more surviving passengers.


Word of the Disaster Spreads

Word of the disaster quickly spread. By the time the Carpathia docked in New York on April 18th, there were more than 40,000 people waiting there. People were shocked by the scope of the disaster and furious that there were so few lifeboats.

One of the Titanic’s survivors, J. Bruce Ismay, was the managing director of White Star, the company that owned and made the Titanic. He soon became a target for public outrage. Many blamed him for the sinking and labeled him as a coward for leaving the ship.


Southampton Grieves

Many of Titanic’s passengers and crew members were from Southampton, which was the ship’s port of call. The port city was devastated by the accident, with more than 500 households losing at least one family member during the disaster.

While crowds of people gathered to greet survivors as they arrived in Southampton, many were devastated to discover that their loved ones had not survived. A sense of grief could be felt throughout the city. Memorials were built to honor the dead, and ceremonies were held to raise funds for survivors.


The Legacy of the Titanic

Today, the wreckage of the Titanic lies about 12,500 feet below the sea. The wreckage was not discovered until 1985. While salvage missions have been proposed, none have been successful, and the ship remains underwater.

In the aftermath of the sinking, public inquiries were held to determine what could be done to prevent similar accidents in the future. Although the sinking of the Titanic was devastating, it led to permanent changes in maritime safety regulations. Many measures introduced at the time of the sinking are still enforced today.