Hazardous Materials on the Surface


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Aaron_2016

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Does anyone know if the breaking and implosion of the Titanic resulted in the spillage of hazardous materials and fumes on the surface which might have hampered the victims chances of survival? e.g. I recall a passenger who had small pieces of cork stuck to her hair which took some effort to remove, and how Captain Rostron noticed the water was covered with a large quantity of cork. This would pose a great hazard if swallowed. The bodies that were recovered might have shown signs that they had pieces of cork in their mouths or ingested it. Captain Lord saw what appeared to be an oil slick on the water. This would pose a great risk as well, and I recall Mrs. Hart saw a mass of coffee beans floating on the surface, which would pose a danger if choked upon.

Setting aside the broken wreckage that one would expect to find e.g. pieces of wood, chairs and broken furnishings, would there be any other significant risks on the water? Hazardous liquids like bleach, turpentine, open canisters of paint and varnish, barrels of powder, bedspreads and sheets floating and hampering the victims ability to reach the surface and swim, poisonous fumes and chemicals? etc.
 

mitfrc

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Are you seriously arguing that people died from choking on coffee beans instead of hypothermia?
 
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I'm sure there was some stuff but probably not in volume that would really make a difference. Titanic was coal powered ship so they at least didn't have to deal with massive amounts of fuel oil in the water like later ships. Yeah there was some like lube oil but their biggest threat was water temp. Jumping off the ship could have been a problem striking debris. I was taught when if you had to abandon ship and jump you crossed your legs at the ankles and pointed your feet down to avoid straddleing any debris. Amazing I still remeber that stuff all these years later when I can't remember what was for dinner last night.
 
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Aaron_2016

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Are you seriously arguing that people died from choking on coffee beans instead of hypothermia?
Of course not. I am seeking to learn if there were hazardous materials which might have reduced the chances of people in the water who could have swam towards floating wreckage and the collapsible boats, but were unable to due to hazardous materials in the immediate area which impeded their ability to swim to safety e.g. paint and oil blinding them from seeing the boats, or being sucked down with the ship only to rise to the surface underneath a ton of floating blankets and sheets, or sharp kitchen cutlery and utensil spilling out and cutting people in the water. We can only imagine what was in the water within the realms of plausibility. I just wanted to know out of curiosity what hazards were in the water.
 

Rob Lawes

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Aaron,

Of the hundreds of men, women and children who entered the water that night, approximately 20% would be dead in the first 3 to 5 minutes due to cold water shock. Young or old it wouldn't matter. The effect on the body has been likened to an electric shock. The blood pressure spikes and the heart works much harder leading to the risk of a heart attack . The muscles convulse and the lungs will gasp uncontrollably. If you are not wearing any floatation support then the chances are you would breath in water and drown. Titanic's life vests did not prevent wearers from floating face up as modern jackets do so some people even with vests on may have found themselves face down and drowned.

For those who managed to survive the first few minutes and gather their senses, the next 20 to 30 minutes would see the growing effects of cold incapacitation. As the body's core looked to preserve its temperature and function it would have reduced the size of the capillaries near the surface. It would also lead to uncontrollable shivering. Gradually the limbs would stiffen and holding on to a child for example would become impossible. Even the strongest of swimmers would barely be able to move after 30 minutes. Most of Titanic's victims would have drowned as a result of this.

If the life vest had managed to float the wearer on their back then finally, around an hour after immersion the body's core temperature would have fallen sufficiently for hypothermia to account for the remaining victims.

A few bits of floating wreckage, oils and other contaminants would have been the least of their worries.
 
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Aaron_2016

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I am aware the water was cold and that hot boiling water and steam rushed up which made Lightoller and Gracie fear that they were going to be scalded, and that some survivors may have suffered burns and others survived in the water until daylight. I just wanted to know what hazards were in the water to get a better understanding as to how much chance the people in the water had in surviving e.g. Jumping over the stern into the water, only to be sucked down as the stern goes under, and then rising back up with bundles of sheets and materials above their heads which impede their ability to swim towards the collapsible or pieces of wood that could support their weight as a number of people were seen lashed to chairs, doors, and make-shift rafts. Having possible blinding chemicals, fumes, smoke, oil, sheets, carpets, and laundry congesting the surface would I believe hamper their chances of survival. A friend of Mr. Prentice jumped over the stern and injured his legs on wreckage. Prentice said he was a very good swimmer and had to watch him 'gradually dying". The congestion of so many materials and food in the water might also have made it fatal to jump as the jumpers would land on a bed sheet which might have cocooned around them as they jumped down and prevented them for swimming to the surface. I believe every possible potential risk should be noted, especially if it decreased their chances of swimming to safety and surviving.
 
Nov 14, 2005
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Aaron,

Of the hundreds of men, women and children who entered the water that night, approximately 20% would be dead in the first 3 to 5 minutes due to cold water shock. Young or old it wouldn't matter. The effect on the body has been likened to an electric shock. The blood pressure spikes and the heart works much harder leading to the risk of a heart attack . The muscles convulse and the lungs will gasp uncontrollably. If you are not wearing any floatation support then the chances are you would breath in water and drown. Titanic's life vests did not prevent wearers from floating face up as modern jackets do so some people even with vests on may have found themselves face down and drowned.

For those who managed to survive the first few minutes and gather their senses, the next 20 to 30 minutes would see the growing effects of cold incapacitation. As the body's core looked to preserve its temperature and function it would have reduced the size of the capillaries near the surface. It would also lead to uncontrollable shivering. Gradually the limbs would stiffen and holding on to a child for example would become impossible. Even the strongest of swimmers would barely be able to move after 30 minutes. Most of Titanic's victims would have drowned as a result of this.

If the life vest had managed to float the wearer on their back then finally, around an hour after immersion the body's core temperature would have fallen sufficiently for hypothermia to account for the remaining victims.

A few bits of floating wreckage, oils and other contaminants would have been the least of their worries.
Yes. I forget off hand but there were of number of people who even managed to get out of the water onto to the upturned boat that still succumbed to the cold. You stated 20 to 30 mins. Wasn't that about the time the people in the boats said it went dead silent? My dad told me when he was making the runs to Murmansk ships would get torpedoed. They were under orders not to stop. He understood why but it still bothered him. But he said he was told to not let it get to him. He was told if they were in boats or on rafts they would get picked up. If they were in the water they were gone already.
 

Rob Lawes

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I believe every possible potential risk should be noted, especially if it decreased their chances of swimming to safety and surviving.
Why?

What's the point in speculating if 2 year old Ellis Anderson died with lubricant oil stinging the little child's eyes or, if her 6 year old sister choked to death on a lump of floating cork?

How will that help us understand what happened that night?

Sorry Aaron, I usually enjoy a good, robust exchange of views but this thread is frankly troubling.

All too often we tend to forget that One Thousand Five Hundred Men, Women and Children died in less than an hour.
 
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Aaron_2016

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Why?

What's the point in speculating if 2 year old Ellis Anderson died with lubricant oil stinging the little child's eyes or, if her 6 year old sister choked to death on a lump of floating cork?

How will that help us understand what happened that night?

Sorry Aaron, I usually enjoy a good, robust exchange of views but this thread is frankly troubling.

All too often we tend to forget that One Thousand Five Hundred Men, Women and Children died in less than an hour.
The same reason people swarm to museums and marvel with morbid curiosity at a broken pot which came from the Titanic. The story of the Titanic is largely about death and how the victims died. There is no shame in trying to determine the cause of their deaths and if the breaking of the ship had expelled materials which decreased their chances of survival. Similar to the other topics which debate the cause of their deaths e.g. how many were allegedly locked below decks, how many were shot, or committed suicide, or struck the propeller on their way down, or were electrocuted, or crushed by the funnels, or blown to pieces by the explosion, or went down with the ship and died when the pressure became too strong at a certain depth, or were murdered in the alleged plan to sink the ship on purpose, or made a dying confession to Lightoller in the upturned lifeboat.

They have all been debated. So simply asking what hazardous materials were in the water is a pretty small and understandable request.
 
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