What if they jumped on an ice berg?

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TitanicShack : One Thread

Do you think it would have been possible to unload people onto an ice berg with some blankets or something and then go back and get more people?

-- Scott Falconer (Vegan@mcicron.net), January 12, 1998


James Cameron has mentioned the possibility, yes. Titanic had cargo cranes capable of lifting big batches of people (on pallets).

The upper surface of the iceberg would have determined how feasible the entire operation would have been. If it was too sloped and sheer, it would not have been possible to keep people on.

In any case, Titanic's engine room received a "slow ahead" order just after the collision; that put the iceberg behind the ship, and out of sight.

-- Thomas M. Terashima (tom@nucleus.com), January 12, 1998.

I don't have the answer to that, but it sounds reasonable. I will say that there was capacity on those lifeboats for all those who were fighting for their lives in the water (300 people). That's one of the big tragedies to me.

-- Bob Gregorio (rgregori@pacbell.net), January 12, 1998.

This topic was addressed on a recent "Larry King Live", in which james Cameron was one of the guests. He said that yes people could have gotten on the iceberg if it wasn't too steep. But he said(and I am paraphrasing) "All the icebergs that I have seen would have been too steep to get on but it migh have saved a lot of lives." But we can't second guess the decisions of the captain and crew 80 some years later. ;)

-- Nikki (n_carr@hotmail.com), January 13, 1998.

We can stop and have the luxury of "thinking about what to do" now some 86 years later but the facts of the timeline are unchangeable. The Titanic was cruising at 23-28 knots (35 mph) at the time of impact on the berg. That is fast for an object of the Titanics size. Even though the engines were stopped and in reverse during the impact, titanic's momentum alone took way too long for her to at least come to a complete stop before the berg. Even if she hit head on, the momentum alone would have caused every compartment to crush like an acordian and the instantainious stopping force would slam anyone inside the ship against a wall. She would have sunk in minutes instead of hours giving no one a chance at all. After she struck the berg, the boilers were already 2 minutes shut down and natural current carried the ship miles away from the berg she struck. I don't know about any of you, but I can't swim 2 miles in 35 degree water and after doing this, try to climb onto a freezing steep object in the dark.

-- Loren Scott (llloyd@pacbell.mobile.com), January 14, 1998.

If they could have gotten onto one and stayed there what are the chances that they wouldn't freeze to death and how would other ships know where to find them and how would they get onto another ship?? I don't think it's so feezable if you think of it like that. Maybe they would have had a little bit more of a chance to live though....maybe.

-- miranda swearingen (Kylen1@hotmail.com), January 15, 1998.

This was not at all a viable option. 1) Icebergs are chunks that break off from glaciers and most times don't have much in the way of horizontal surfaces, as would an ice floe. 2) They had gone beyond the berg after the collision, it was a moonless night and would not have seen it anyway (which is one of the reasons they hit it in the first place). 3) If you have never been at sea at night with no light to guide you, it is an experience that is very hard to envision. It is as if you are in a huge empty warehouse, standing in the middle and someone turns the lights out. Now try to find your way out. You lose all sense of direction unless you are proficient at celestial navigation. 4) The crew had, by all accounts that I have read, a very difficult time convincing people of the gravity of the situation until it was obvious. True, at first they tried to calm people so as to not cause a panic, but can you imagine them saying: We are going to put you in a small boat, row you over to a big hunk of ice, leave you there and go back for more. I do not think it took too long before people realized the reality of the situation, especially those in the bowels of the ship who knew immediately, but in that time the clock was marching on closer to the end. The fact is, this event was the ultimate example of 'Murphy's Law' and the fact that it was so preventable is the shame of it all.

-- Peter Nivling (pcnivling@capecod.net), January 20, 1998.

If the jumped on an iceburg would it not just contribute to the hypothermia that most people already had?

-- louise christophersen (L_O_U02@hotmail.com), November 19, 2002.

I really don't think it is possible the whether out there was freezing and to top it all off to be on an ice berg its bad enough people died just in the water never mind on an iceberg.

-- katie arruda (katerina482@aol.com), November 21, 2002.

The other answers on this page indicate that the ice berg was too steep. That is correct, but members of the crew of the titanic could have climbed on the ice and had ropes for passengers to hold on to so they could stay alive at least until the rescue ships arrived. The great mass of an iceberg is below the water, so if the titanic would have gone back and crashed into the iceberg the iceberg itself could have keep the titanic afloat at least until a rescue ship arrived. The subject of the California, and the use of broken off parts of the ice berg of interest to me as well.

Stewart Lichtenberg

-- (stuybe@excite.com), November 25, 2002.

True - the only thing the Titanic's crew knew of that was afloat and might have been able to hold the excess of the passengers - was the iceberg itself. There was even a picture taken in the day(s) shortly after the Titanic went down of the suspected iceberg showing it to have a distinct smudge/possible paint-scrape from the Titanic. In the picture the iceberg looks rather flat, mesa-like. Certainly, one's chances at survival would have been better huddled on top of this with fellow survivors than in the 30 deg water.

-- chuck (chucklesinri@yahoo.com), October 06, 2003.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ