CullmanTimes.com - Cullman, Alabama

Community News Network

April 11, 2012

100 years later, Titanic-like disaster remains a risk

There weren't enough life boats for everyone on board. The crew wasn't prepared for a full-scale evacuation. And a nearby ship that might have sailed to the rescue misread distress flares.

That was the case 100 years ago, on April 15, 1912, when the Titanic struck an iceberg and sank in the North Atlantic on its maiden voyage, killing 1,517 people aboard.

It was one of the deadliest maritime accidents ever, and led to significant improvements in safety rules aimed at preventing similar calamities. Today's cruise ships are far better equipped to cope with emergencies. Disasters at sea are rare.

Still, the question lingers: Could it happen again?

"The answer is yes, because it just did," said Daniel Allen Butler, a historian and author of "Unsinkable: The Full Story of RMS Titanic."  He referred to the Costa Concordia accident in January.

"If the Costa Concordia had been, say, off the coast of Alaska rather than off the coast of Italy, it would have been a disaster of enormous proportions," said Butler.

The location difference is huge. The Titanic sank 370 miles off the coast of Newfoundland in an open ocean that was 12,000-feet deep. Most of the people died from hypothermia in the 28-degree water after the ship went down.

The Costa Concordia struck a rock outcropping just off a Tuscan island that tore a 165-foot hole in its port hull, causing it to go aground in shallow water and eventually tip to her starboard side. Yet 30 people died during a confusing, six-hour long evacuation process.

Unlike the Titanic, there were sufficient lifeboats. That was one of the rule changes that evolved from the Titanic’s sinking – a lifeboat seat for everyone on an ocean liner. The Titanic had only 20 lifeboats, with between 65 and 40 seats each, or enough for just a third of the ship’s capacity and half the number of people on its doomed voyage.

Text Only
Community News Network
  • Why do wolves howl?

    Of all the myths that dog the wolf, none is more widely accepted than the idea that wolves howl at the moon. Images of wolves with their heads upturned, singing at the night sky, are as unquestioned as a goldfish's three-second memory or a dog's color-blindness (both also myths).

    April 18, 2014

  • Biggest student loan profits come from grad students

    This week, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the federal government would earn roughly $127 billion from student lending during the next 10 years.

    April 18, 2014

  • quake.jpg Pennsylvania won’t take action following Ohio ruling on quakes, fracking

    Pennsylvania officials plan no action despite new Ohio rules on drilling that affect a seismically active area near the state line.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • VIDEO: Boston bomb scare defendant appears in court

    The man accused of carrying a backpack containing a rice cooker near the Boston Marathon finish line on the anniversary of the bombings was arraigned Wednesday. He's being held on $100,000 bail.

    April 17, 2014

  • The case for separate beds

    The other night I slept on a twin bed in the guest room of the house I share with my husband and our two kids.
    It was the best night's sleep I've had in years.

    April 17, 2014

  • Raw oysters spike U.S. rise in bacterial infections, CDC reports

    Raw oysters, so good with hot sauce, increasingly can carry something even more unsettling to the stomach: A bacteria linked to vomiting, diarrhea and pain.

    April 17, 2014

  • To sleep well, you may need to adjust what you eat and when

    Sleep.  Oh, to sleep.  A good night's sleep is often a struggle for more than half of American adults.  And for occasional insomnia, there are good reasons to avoid using medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription.

    April 16, 2014

  • Low blood-sugar levels make for grousing spouses

    Husbands and wives reported being most unhappy with their spouses when their blood-sugar levels were lowest, usually at night, according to research released this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Missing a meal, dieting or just being hungry may be the reason, researchers said.

    April 16, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 12.51.22 PM.png VIDEO: Toddler climbs into vending machine

    A child is safe after climbing into and getting stuck inside a claw crane machine at a Lincoln, Neb., bowling alley Monday.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • portraitoflotte.jpg VIDEO: From infant to teen in four minutes

    Dutch filmmaker Frans Hofmeester’s time lapse video of his daughter, Lotte — created by filming her every week from her birth until she turned 14 — has become a viral sensation.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo