More people on the Titanic died of hypothermia than of drowning

Apr 14, 2001
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dear people of the board i have some important news that i would like to tell you about according to dr mr shetty of illinois more people who died on the titanic died of hypothormea than of drowing you can read it either in the magazine called the lancet or on the discovery channel under discovery news/news brief and i hope some of you will read it i know its sad and that nothing can bring those who died back but its just one persons opinion jennifer mueller
 

Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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Jennifer, I saw The Lancet article and M R Shetty simply doesn't know what he's talking about. His sweeping generalisation is as inaccurate as the 1912 records that listed everybody except William Hoyt as "supposed drowned".

A list of causes of death would include

Hypothermia.
Drowning.
Injuries caused during the breakup of the hull and the fall of the forward funnel.
Shooting and suicide
Possibly heart attacks and CVAs.

I tried to write a riposte for The Lancet but I couldn't keep it down to the 500 word limit. It's a pity that Shetty's ill-informed letter got world-wide publicity.
 
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Tom Pappas

Guest
I guess he was referring to those who weren't killed otherwise.

Which, in any case, in no way bears on the conclusion reached in the good doctor's letter to Lancet, which is rife with historical inaccuracies, some of which I cite here
There were 3560 lifebelts aboard the ship, so presumably all those who died were wearing lifebelts...

...they were presumably floating with their heads above water...

Aspiration might have occurred after they became unconscious.
1. Since there is evidence in the debris field of bodies having reached the bottom, it is unlikely that all who died were wearing lifebelts.

2. The design of the belts did not guarantee that the wearer's head would be held out of the water. Since the flotation vector is symmetrical and low, I would expect equal numbers to float face-up and face-down.

3. Dr. Shetty's acknowledgement that they might have inspired water after losing consciousness undermines his major premise, since any who did would have drowned before succumbing to the cold. This would suggest the opposite of his hypothesis.

The other possibility, which I think can be supported statistically, is that most of the 1,200 missing victims went down inside the vessel. These unfortunates would have drowned long before the cries of the freezing ebbed.