Deadly fascination for Titanic continues to lure people to their doom

More than a hundred years after it sank, the Titanic continues to lure people to their doom. The ill-fated ship is back in the news because the party of five tourists in their deep sea submarine craft have been declared dead. Experts are now saying that the craft imploded under high pressure.

Clearly the perils of the deep oceans have not been mastered by humans. A debate is raging about whether the hazardous voyage should have been undertaken. The teenaged Suleman Dawood accompanied his father only because he wanted to please his dad on Father’s Day. Now a family has lost a father and son forever.

Moreover each passenger paid 250,000 dollars for the trip. Now they have lost their money as well.

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Byron’s everlasting words

More than a century ago, the English poet Lord Byron wrote:
“Roll on thou deep and dark Blue Ocean, roll
Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain
Man marks the earth with ruin but his control stops at the shore.”

With every disaster at sea, the truth of Byron’s lines is highlighted very emphatically. Man may have advanced in many fields but is still very far from establishing control over the oceans.

Huge loss of lives on the Titanic

The loss of lives in the Titanic tragedy itself was huge. More than 1500 passengers and crew members lost their lives while on board a ship that was supposed to be unsinkable. The number of casualties would have been even higher if not for the courage and sacrifice displayed by a few brave people.

A brave officer

One such person was Charles Lightoller, a senior officer on the ship. As the officer in charge of loading passengers into lifeboats on the port side, Lightoller enforced the rule that women and children should board the lifeboats first. Brandishing a pistol, he did not allow any of the rowdy men from pushing aside the weaker passengers on board the ship.

Lightoller himself survived through a stroke of luck. After doing his duty, he sank into the waters but when a boiler of the ship burst underwater, he was pushed up by the explosion to the surface. Then he was noticed and picked up by a lifeboat. Later Lightoller served as a commanding officer in the Royal Navy during the First World War and was twice decorated for gallantry in battles.

Wilde sacrificed his life

Chief Officer of the Titanic, Henry Tingle Wilde sacrificed his life to save others. Wilde and Lightoller were close friends. Wilde helped to load all the passengers he was in charge of. Then he returned to the port side and began loading Boat number D. After the boat was fully loaded, he told Lightoller to go with the boat. But Lightoller retorted: “Not damned likely!”, and refused to obey Wilde’s order.

Wilde went back into the ship to look for more passengers who needed help and brought some of them back on the deck. He was last seen on the bridge of the ship and thereafter the ship sank into the dark waters.

Tragically, Wilde’s wife and two of his six children had died (of natural causes) before death claimed his own life too. The remaining four children were in London when they received news that their father had gone down with the Titanic. They were now left without mother and father.

Another person who did not survive was the ship’s captain, the experienced Captain Edward Smith. In the time-honoured tradition of the seas, he refused to leave his post even when the ship began sliding into the icy waters. Even now, whenever we hear of any disaster, the first memory that comes into our minds is the name of The Titanic.

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