What if Titanic Sunk in the 90s?

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This is obviously totally hypothetical as things are so much different than they were in 1912 (safety, technology) so I know it isn't a fair comparison that way. But, all things considered the same, from a human persepctive, do you think the people of the 90s would react the same way those of 1912 did? After all, class today is not as prevalent and with the selfish attitudes of the 90s...who knows. My personal opinion is that the majority of people would be out for themselves. I don't think the "women and children first" would prevail. Today, women aren't considered the fragile things that they were in the early 1900s. I think more men would've survived and I think more people would have died from violence and fighting over the lifeboats. I don't think people are as concerned with their honor today. However, I do think the children would be considered a priority. Please, don't flame me if you don't agree, I just think the moral fiber of today's community compared to that in the early 1900s is more corrupt. I welcome differing opinions!

-- Tracey (tridelta1@aol.com), January 29, 1998


A scenario: a burst of high-intensity phase-shifted meta-rays ("M-rays"(tm)) hits Titanic at 11:45 PM on April 14th, 1912, causing the physical bodies of all those on board to aquire the souls of those living in April 14th, 1998 (the souls of those on board Titanic are bounced forward 86 years).

It turns out the M-rays (tm) are artificially generated, and the souls selected are highly ironic and appropriate. Bill Gates and his wife are on board, as are several other billionaires. Also on board is James Cameron. The other 2,000-plus people are selected from around the world, reflecting the various cultures on board, all with foreknowledge of the events of that night.

After an initial 10 minutes of shock and finding out "what the hell is going on", a full hour is spent on a plan of action. Life boats are then lowered at 90% capacity, women and children first. An informal "evolutionary lottery" is held for the men, the course of action being jumping in the water and swimming out to the lifeboats (only the strong survive).

Meanwhile, Titanic is maneuvered back near the iceberg and the cargo cranes used to lower all but a skeleton crew onto the iceberg. (This is all Cameron's idea.)

At 1:23 AM, Titanic's remaining boilers are fired up and the ship then steams at 10 knots towards the Californian. 50 minutes later, Titanic founders within sight of the Californian.

-- Thomas M. Terashima (tom@nucleus.com), January 29, 1998.

On the other hand, if a reverse-phase-shifted burst of meta-rays hits Titanic at 11:45 PM, April 14th, 1912, and brings it forward 86 years, things would have worked out basically the same. Luck would determine if there are any nearby ships in the area.

Search and rescue helicopters from Newfoundland and Nova Scotia would arrive on site in time to pluck a dozen or so people off of the stern of the ship at 2:10 AM.

-- Thomas M. Terashima (tom@nucleus.com), January 29, 1998.

tee hee, we'd all get on our cell phones and call 911, if 911 didn't work that far from the shore we'd call home. Home would call CNN and CNN would charter a ship of their own to the sight in half an hour and they'd rescue the whole lot and have first dibs on the story that would air 23 hours a day around the clock on that network for two straight week.

-- Jen (jendrew@hotmail.com), January 29, 1998.

We've covered this in an earlier thread, but I think you'd see the same range of emotion and behavior in 1998 as they saw in 1912; some would behave selflessly, others shamefully, but I don't think you'd have a free-for-all. One thing you learn from studying history is, "there is nothing new under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 1:9). Human nature hasn't changed.

Not quite three years ago here in Oklahoma City, we had police, fire, ambulance, and a lot of just plain folks, crawling through the rubble of the bombed-out Murrah Federal Office Building, at great risk, to dig out the survivors and the dead (one off-duty nurse, who drove to the site from her home, was struck in the head by falling rubbble and died a few days later). No, when the chips are down, some will flee, but others will jump in and help.

But I don't know if the brave ones would do it in quite the same style, though. Can you imagine Bill Gates and his manservant (who would THAT be, Steve Ballmer?) going back and changing into their best evening clothes (with their formal pocket protectors) to "go down like gentlemen"?

(Then again, maybe Jen has the best answer ;-)


-- Kip Henry (kip-henry@ouhsc.edu), January 30, 1998.

I believe the answer is: Titanic would not have sunk in the'90's! For that matter, she never would have been built or designed in that manner. Having said that, I also believe that all things being equal and the Titanic existed in the 90's that people would probably behave in the same manner. That is with the consideration that all of the technology that is available today were not available, You really can not make a comparison of events and reactions to those events over a period of 86 years. Doing so will eventually drive you nuts!

-- Peter Nivling (pcnivling@capecod.net), January 31, 1998.

Why is "Woman and children first" viewed as heroic. They were splitting families apart and sending off lifeboats half empty because of this "heroic" sentiment. Hundreds more could of been saved if the Titanic crew wasn't turning away men to fill the lifeboats. I would hope that history should view this as yet another component that enabled the full scale of this tragedy to be realized.

-- Kyle (Kyle@NG.COm), January 31, 1998.


I can't speak for everyone, but if I and MY family were in a similar predicament, and there were only two places left in the lifeboat, my wife and daughter would be in them. You can call me sexist, ageist, or anything else-ist you want, but as a husband and father, I wouldn't have it any other way.

"Women and Children First" was an outgrowth of the Edwardian society of the day, and you can't blame that attitude for the high loss of life. As I have pointed out in another thread, the primary reason so many boats rowed away half-full (or less) wasn't because of "Women and Children First," but because the evacuation and loading of the liftboats was mishandled by a crew who were poorly trained (or not trained at all) in evacuation procedures.


-- Kip Henry (kip-henry@ouhsc.edu), January 31, 1998.

"Women and children first" is an unwritten law of the sea that exists still to this day. My grandfather was a sailor and fought in WWII. If I remember correctly, he told me a story of a battleship that was sinking (I assume it was hit, though I don't remember exactly), and he mentioned to me that there were many female nurses aboard (it must have been a hospital ship...I was soooo young when he told me this story; I'm trying to fill in the blanks) and they were all put in the lifeboats first. I know that they were all saved; I don't remember if all the men were.

-- Gilded Age Junkie (GildedAgeJunkie@yahoo.com), August 01, 1998.

it's incredible,titanic sunk though it was not meant to be.Engineers had placed every things on ship to face any disasters,even in early 1910's.So,no matter,how much technically r u sound,Fate is the almighty factor for every individual.Talking about early 90's that calamity could be less disatorous with using some helicoptors and better communication devices.

-- Ashish P (smile_apj@yahoo.com), May 20, 2003.

I believe that if the titanic sunk in the 90's- that it would be a total MIND BLOWING expirence and people would go CRAZY

-- Hailey Coates (hayley859@hotmail.com), November 24, 2003.

If Titanic were to sink in the 90,s it would be totally different. One big difference (there are many)would be air cover. Planes could be there in the matter of halfs of hours.This opens up a whole host of rescue measures.

-- Emile Dominick Levy (Emile.D.Levy@irs.gov), June 29, 2004.

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