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The Titanic is more than an epic of steam and steel. It is the story of her passengers, from first-class millionaires to third-class immigrants, who displayed incredible acts of courage, self-sacrifice, and heroism, and who endured extraordinary loss.
The most famous couple making the crossing was Mr. and Mrs. John Jacob Astor IV. They were returning to
New York after a honeymoon abroad. Madeline survived but John Jacob perished as did their Airedale, Kitty,
boarded in the ship’s kennels. As the wealthiest man on board, Astor’s death made headlines around the world.
Major Archibald Butt, military aide to President William Taft, in true soldierly fashion, helped others to the
lifeboats but failed to save himself. A memorial fountain dedicated to his bravery stands near the White House
in Washington, D.C.
Benjamin Guggenheim and his valet changed into formal attire as the end approached. The millionaire was
reported to have said, "We’ve dressed in our best and are prepared to go down like gentlemen."
Second-class passenger, Annie Clemmer Funk perished after selflessly relinquishing the last place in a lifeboat
to a mother whose children had already been seated in the boat. Annie was returning home from missionary
work in India to be at the bedside of her own ailing mother.
Rosa Abbott was a single mother traveling in third-class with her two sons, Rossmore and Eugene. The Abbott
boys were not allowed into the lifeboats because, at ages sixteen and fourteen, they were considered men.
Rosa refused to leave without them and all three were swept away from the deck by a wall of water as the ship
took its final plunge. Rosa was the only woman pulled into a lifeboat from the sea. Her boys were never found.
THE TITANIC WRECK SITE
The wreck site of the Titanic is 963 miles northeast of New York and 453 miles southeast of the Newfoundland coastline. Titanic lies 2.5 miles beneath the ocean’s surface where the pressure is 6,000 pounds per square inch. The recovery teams reach the site via MIR, a $25 million submersible equipped with mechanical arms. Each submersible weighs 18 tons and is made of titanium and high grade rolled steel. The submersibles carry three people with one-foot thick plastic portholes. They can deploy a Remote-Controlled Vehicle (ROV) on a 110-foot tether which is flown inside the wreck to record images. It takes over 2 hours to reach the wreck site. Each dive lasts 12-15 hours with an additional 2 hours to return to the surface.
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