Andrea Doria


Adam Went

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Michael:

Not just the Andrea Doria, either. Most shipwrecks are dangerous places to dive. I was surprised, however, that the toll was so high.

Jim:

I understand where you're coming from but I have to disagree. At least, in a lot of cases. Trauma from what happens in an event like a sinking ship may cause ongoing health problems or it may trigger dormant illnesses which are either untreated or un-noticed, especially by the medical technology of the 50's. So I think it's unfair to label certain deaths after a sinking as "casualties" as such, as the role that event played might be miniscule or completely non-existent and coincidental.

Full credit to you for keeping such an intricate list, however....

Cheers,
Adam.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>Not just the Andrea Doria, either. Most shipwrecks are dangerous places to dive. I was surprised, however, that the toll was so high.<<

Wish I could say I was but I'm not. Even in shallow and reletively calm locations, there are lots of ways one can get dead diving a shipwreck, and the Andrea Doria's grave is niether shallow nor calm. The waters are icy cold, the currents are treacherous and unpredictable, and the ship herself is a mass of twisted and collapsed steel.

The wonder of it all is that more people aren't killed in the attempt.
 

Jim Kalafus

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People who die of illness tend NOT to be counted as victims. Miss Knight, of the Morro Castle, for instance, swam for hours and was in shock when she was recovered. She married within two weeks, and in fewer than two months was dead of a heart attack. Her family and widower said she never really recovered from the effects of shock and immersion, but she is not counted as a victim. the chasin of evidence is weak. The only survivor of the Logan Airport plane crash in the 1970s was a Marine who was seriously burned and lost both legs.... he died a few months later, and IS counted as a victim because the chain of events that led to fatal organ failure definitely began with the crash. Same with the Andrea Doria's Julia Grego.... she wasnt not just an older woman who went into decline after the disaster and died 6 months later~ she was placed on the list because there was a direct, legally acceptable, chain of events that began with her falling off a ladder and ended with her death. Rosa Carola, whose daughter Margaret perished in A-230, died soon after the disaster. She was already terminally ill with cancer (spent the entire voyage in the hospital, leaving her berth in A-230 unoccupied) and the death of a daughter and two other relatives sent her into final decline. She ISN'T an official victim, because the link between the disaster and her death is entirely subjective.

Official casualty lists tend to be compiled by people who have a vested interest in accuracy.... people who died soon after of illness aren't counted "because it makes a good story."

>Full credit to you for keeping such an intricate list, however....

You need to. That way, if you find yourself in...say...Richmond Indiana, you immediately think LUSITANIA VICTIMS DAVID AND ALICE LOYND PREACHED HERE FOR A MONTH BEFORE THE FATAL VOYAGE, and you can then hit the library and photograph the home they stayed in. Nothing is worse that realising weeks later that you had an opportunity to research and blew it.
 

John Clifford

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Adam, when casualty lists are being comprised, the figures include those persons whose deaths appear to be related to a certain event.

This was noted here in Los Angeles in 1994, after the Northridge Earthquake: Quake-related casualties included a woman who, in a rush of panic, took a tumble and broke her neck while running to see if her children were okay (they were). Other casualties included several who had heart attacks and a Police Officer who drove his motorcycle off a Freeway overpass (he did not know that it had collapsed) when heading out, post-Quake, to Work.
Thus, one cannot always state "this was not a related fatality".

The same is true for persons who survive a plane crash, but later die while in the hospital. Their deaths mandate an increase in the fatality listings.

Even after an extended period of time, one's death can be attributed to a certain incident: actress Janet Gaynor died, in 1984, from injuries incurred in a 1982 traffic accident, and "Lucky Bucky", the man pulled from the collapsed "Cypress Structure" double-decker freeway, in 1989, after the Loma Priea Earthquake, died of his injuries a few months later.

Thus, when persons die not long after a rescue, cause of death is attributed to certain events.

On another note: both the Andrea Doria and the Empress of Ireland wreck sites offered quite an allure to divers. However, as Michael noted, one needs to know exactly what can happen, and the dangers involved, lest one become a diving casualty, as has happened at both the Empress and Doria sites.
 

Adam Went

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Michael:

Not sure of the number of diving casualties on the Empress Of Ireland (?) but the conditions you describe sound quite similar, and the waters of the St. Lawrence river are notoriously treacherous.

Jim/John:

I hear what you're both saying but I personally feel that, unless it is a clear cut case of serious injury leading to almost immediate death after such a disaster, then it can be fraught with danger and inaccurate to include such "casualties" on the official list. I mean, where does one draw the line? For example, if a passenger had an undiagnosed heart condition, survived the shipwreck with a major injury which required surgery, and they then died whilst in surgery and it was attributed to the heart condition rather than the shipwreck, would they then be included on the list of official casualties? It may be picky but I offer that as merely an example. One example of many which are possible to draw.

What about Colonel Archibald Gracie then? Should he be included?

Such cases may make the "official" casualty lists but in my view, apart from some obvious exceptions, a list of casualties should be those who died in or immediately following the disaster, not somebody who died of a related condition a few months or years later.

Cheers,
Adam.
 

Jim Kalafus

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>then it can be fraught with danger and inaccurate to include such "casualties" on the official list.

These cases seldom, if ever, DO end up on the official list. The "official list" tends to be the one generated by the court case, and as hard as one group of lawyers fights to include a survivor who developed a cold some months later and died, there is a second group of lawyers fighting to exclude that person. The end result isn't flawless, but tends to be pretty accurate.

One has to research any death list very carefully. Take the Eastern 401 crash, of January 29, 1972. The encyclopedic reference book AVIATION DISASTERS, and most other books, list the official death count at 99. Which is the number of people who died instantly, or who were removed dead from the crash site. The actual "official" number is 101 ( Don Repo, a member of the flight crew, died of head injuries 30 hours after the crash, and a passenger named Braulio Corretjer died on New Years Day) and the true number is 103 (a passenger named Luis Bancroft, who lost his legs, developed gas gangrene and died on January 6, 1973, and an Eastern employee named Warren Terry, who was dead heading in First Class, died of injuries on january 15, 1973) The accurate number is the one least used!

The Lusitania death list includes people who died as late as September 1915. The disaster occurred May 7th. I suspect that in this case the list was padded a bit for propaganda reasons. Harriet Plank, who was 61, (nearly six years beyond the average life expectancy) died in August and is 'officially' a victim. Campbell McKechan, an infant from rural Illinois, returned to the United States with his mother in August and died on September 15th. His older brother and aunt died in the disaster, and there are any number of things that could have happened to Campbell and his mother that might have produced his lingering death. But until Mrs McKechan's first hand account can be read, the suspicion remains that his might have been an "average" 1915 infant mortality that was seized upon as the final example of Lusitania Hunnish Brutality.

>What about Colonel Archibald Gracie then? Should he be included?

No. Gracie should be excluded from as many discussions as possible.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>What about Colonel Archibald Gracie then? Should he be included?<<

In the case of Colonel Gracie, I would submit that at best, his encounter with the Titanic hastened the inevitable. He was already struggling with diabetes in a day and age when there was no such animal as insulin to give him a fighting chance.
 

Adam Went

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Jim:

Very interesting stuff. Perhaps all of this could partially be the reason why i'm yet to see more than a handful of books and other sources about both Titanic and Lusitania, along with other shipwrecks, which agree on an exact number of casualties. Some authors may have a different definition of "casualty".

Michael:

But that is exactly my point. Where does one draw the line? Judging by some of the accounts i've read on this thread over the past few days, then Gracie could pass as being on the casualty list for the Titanic!

(For the record, i'm in agreement with Jim about him....just playing devil's advocate here and using him as an example.)

Cheers,
Adam.
 

Jim Kalafus

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>Some authors may have a different definition of "casualty".

With the Titanic, there are at least two (and I think a third) official figures, so a lot of the confusion is fostered by authors who cite cne figure without explaining A) that there were others and B) why they opted to choose the number that they did as the OFFICIAL OFFICIAL NUMBER.

Then, too, there is the need to build drama wherever possible. GRACIE NEVER RECOVERED...etc....is trotted out frequently as a 'nobody dodges the reaper' post-script. Gracie was born in 1859, meaning that he was two years shy of average male life expectancy, and a diabetic. The latter factor strongly suggests that he had been walking a tightrope for quite some time (it is surprising that he came close to 'average lifespan') and, as Michael said, the best you can say and be a responsible historian is that his experiences probably didn't HELP.

>Where does one draw the line?

Where there is no proveable direct connection, of course!
 

Adam Went

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Jim:

I think we've debated over the average life expectancy thing before and I still don't think it is a fair assessment. There's no doubt that people in 1912 generally didn't live as long as people in 2011, largely because the medical technology wasn't there at the time and many illnesses which could easily be treated now were fatal to most back then.

But, having said that, the average life expectancy is lowered quite a bit, I would imagine, by the many hundreds of thousands who lived in poverty, famine and general third world conditions, where sudden and premature deaths of young people and children were common place.

This was not the case with Gracie.

That's not to say he would have lived to be 100, I suggest nothing of the kind, but I don't think it's fair to draw a comparison between the life span of the average male, when considering those mitigating factors, and compare it to the life span of Gracie.

Horses for courses, Jim. ;-)

Cheers,
Adam.
 

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