The distress signal was swiftly sent out. Another ship, the Carpathia, picked up the SOS… but it was 58 miles (107 kilometres) away. It would take at least four hours to reach the scene of the collision. By then, it would be too late to save most of the passengers. Gripped by fear, hundreds of souls fell or threw themselves into the icy waters of the North Atlantic, whose temperature would have been between 0°C and 2°C.
The lifeboats were launched 25 minutes after the accident but there weren’t enough to save the 2,207 people travelling on board, including passengers and crew.
RMS Titanic’s list was worsening. Scenes of panic—but also of heroism—took place on the deck and inside the ship. As water flooded its inside, the seriousness of the situation began to strike the passengers, who were initially reluctant to leave the ship, having believed this unnecessary.
When the last of the boats had been lowered into the water, there were 1,500 people left on board. As the boats moved away from the ship, its prow sunk beneath the water as the stern rose to an angle of 45 degrees. Many fell or threw themselves into the sea, doomed to their terrible fate.
The Titanic broke in two, the prow plunged into the depths as the stern struggled to stay afloat, remaining vertical for a few minutes. Then suddenly, there was darkness and a deafening silence, pierced only by the fading cries for help from the survivors.
The Carpathia arrived at 4.00 AM and immediately began to rescue the passengers from the boats.
There were only 712 survivors. A total of 1,496 people lost their lives.