Only six people were saved from the water? : LUSENET : TitanicShack : One Thread

Old Rose says in the movie that only six people out of 1500 were saved out of the water, and she was one of them. Is that historically accurate. And, if so, what were the conditions that allowed those six to actually stay alive when everyone else didn't? Would lying on a board, out of the water, necessarily cause you to live long



Hi Carla:

The statement from the film is partially incorrect. Actually, two lifeboats are known to have rowed back into the wreckage: boat #4, under Quartermaster Walter Perkis, and boat # 14, under Fifth Officer Harold Lowe.

Lowe's boat is credited with rescueing the following: a Japanese (or Chinese) passenger who had lashed himself to a door; Bath Attendant Harold Phillimore, who crawled atop a floating piece of paneling (perhaps the inspiration for Cameron's Rose); passenger William F. Hoyt (who died before Carpathia arrived); and ship's steward Jack Stewart.

Perkis' boat is credited with pulling five of the ship's crew from the water; of these, at least two died within an hour. If you only count the swimmers who survived from these two boats, that does add up to six.

There are several stories of other swimmers being pulled from the water; these jumped close to a lifeboat as it was rowing away from the sinking liner, and were pulled in.

The ability to survive would depend on a number of things; the amount of body fat, the amount of clothing worn, and intangible factors such as individual stamina, and just plain luck. Finding a board to ride could help, but only marginally; several survivors who made it to the swamped collapsible A and overturned collapsible B, finally succumbed to the cold and died well before help arrived. There is only one record of a survivor remaining in the water until Carpathia's arrival and living to tell the tale, Chief Baker Charles Joughin (although many doubt his story, with good reason).


-- Kip Henry (, March 03, 1998.

That's a pretty sad record! I can understand the apprehension of going back into a mass of panicked people, but that is really callous. But, then again, I was not there so who am I to say!

Regards, Peter

-- Peter Nivling (, March 03, 1998.

I totally believe the story of the chief baker and it is one that is documented!! I also think it may well be the one hilarious element in this horrible end of the people who froze in the water.

From Walter Lord's "A Night to Remember"- (Chief Baker Charles Joughlin has just spent some time and energy around 1:45am tossing chairs out into the ocean in an attempt to give swimmers something to hold on to.) It was tiring work; so after he lugged the last chair to the edge and squeezed it thru the window (it was like threading a needle) Joughlin retired to the pantry on the starboard side of A Deck. It was 2:10. As he quenched his thirst-this time it was water (he was up to that point getting, well, DRUNK) he heard a crash as though something had buckled.

...He kept out of the crush as much as possible and ran along the rear of the crowd. He vaulted doen the steps to B Deck, then to the well deck. Just as he got there, TItanic gave a sickening twist to port, throwing people into a huge heap along the port rail. Only Joughlin kept his balance. (Supposedly due to the relaxation caused by the alcohol) Joughlin slipped over the starboard rail and stood on the actual side of the ship. He worked his way up the side still holding onto the rail from the out side. **ANYWAY, he rides down the stern like Jack-n-Rose and just BLOOPS off the boat without getting his HAIR wet! And then, because of his heft and all the alcohol, he was OK to just dog paddle around until the Carpathia came hours later! Moral- everyone should have gotten drunk as skunks and they wouldn't have died of exposure!!

-- Jennifer from Pittsburgh (, March 03, 1998.

Getting drunk as a skunk won't save you from dying of exposure. If anything, most alcohol *lowers* the body temperature, thus speeding up the death.

There is one area, however, where alcohol would help one live in a Titanic-like situation. Many of the 1500 who died that night didn't even reach the stage of hypothermia (exposure); they died from the shock of the 28 degree water. When the human body is suddenly placed in such cold water, many of the important organs (heart. lungs, etc.) will simply stop and, unless quick action is taken, never start again. Consuming large quantities of alcohol, thus numbing lots of nerves, would help prevent this.

-- Thomas Shoebotham (, March 03, 1998.


I'm not sure about your: dying through shock of being exposed to 28 degree water theory. I've heard of something called the 'Mammallian Diving Reflex' (MDF) (has anyone else heard/read about this?) Unlike as you describe the important organs heart, lungs would actually *slow down their work rate* (ao to stopping, to conserve energy I presume) also the arteries and veins would also become narrower (sorry don't know the opposite to vaso-constriction) and extremes of the body would be shut down - this might explain why some people had frostbite of the feet (and hands maybe?)

Anyway, there have been some reports of people who have fallen through thin ice (as Jack was recounting in his ice fishing tale) and the water being so cold actually brings on this MDF and these people have actually been known to live.

The term MDF is coined by some American scientist who looked into this apparently as he noticed this happening in animals like seals and wondered if it happened with humans as well. It seems, from his conclusions (although I'm not sure how he actually tested this and who his volunteers were!) that it does.

Death through exposure however would make sense as there must come a point when even with the body being shut down so that only vital faculties are left (req. for respiration) that it would be unable to cope with keeping the body alive, quite how long this exposure would have to ensure would depend on various factors as noted above.

-- Simon (, March 04, 1998.


Maybe so. I'm no medical expert; I'd heard the above informantion from people who know more about health than I. It sounded plausible, but I wouldn't bet a nickle on my knowledge of obscure medical facts.

-- Thomas Shoebotham (, March 04, 1998.

I think most of the documentation of Joughin's exploits came from Joughin himself, via his testimony in the BOT inquiry. His survival certainly isn't impossible, but it does seem highly unlikely.

BTW, Joughin was portrayed in the film, hanging on the stern rail next to Rose. As the fantail dips under, you can see him stand up. His one spoken line was cut from the final print, when, as the stern is poised for the final plunge, he turns to Rose and says "Helluva night!"


-- Kip Henry (, March 04, 1998.

I am a relative of Chief Baker Charles John Joughin----He is my 3rd great uncle on my father's side. I grew up hearing his story my entire life. And he did infact sit in the water for roughly 2 plus hours (he was drunk). You can survive hypothermea and i do imagine that being on a board would help.

-- Heather (, March 03, 2004.

my name is Rosalie Bidois and i was one of the 6 saved from the water. i am now 112. i am on deathbed so i figured to answer you r question. lying on a board, out of the water, would cause you to live longer i myself floated on a loveseat that fell of the ship when it split i suppose. another survivor said he floated on dining room table. so yes floating on something dry would have kept you alive. P.S. Don't ask about the screen name, its my great grandsons

-- Rosalie Bidois (, March 17, 2004.

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