How many passengers and crew died in 1912 after reaching NY

>>with everything he was blabbering away about cleared in advance . . . perhaps?<<

Seems unlikely to me. Quite a few crewmen were willing to jabberjaw with the press whether the stories they had to tell were true or not. Absent that, some reporters had no qualms with bald faced fabrications being creative with the facts.

That's why you have to be careful with newspaper accounts. Some were reasonably accurate but a lot of them were barely worth using for birdcage liner.