The following photos and text show the timeline of what happened on the Titanic as it began to sink on April 14th, 1912.
The RMS Titanic pushes off after loading the final passengers in Belfast on April 12, 1912.
This is the last-known photo of the Titanic as it leaves Belfast headed West for New York Pier 54. The next two days were smooth sailing, but starting on the afternoon of April 14th, things begin to take a turn for the worse:
14-Apr: A cold front swept in and brought frigid temperatures and waves up to 8 feet. At this point, the Titanic began receiving reports of driving ice in the area; however, these warnings went unheeded as the crew had posted ice-spotters and also had high confidence in the ship's construction
14-Apr: At 11:40 p.m., lookout Frederick Fleet spotted an iceberg directly ahead. First Officer William Murdoch quickly ordered the ship to be steered around the obstacle and the engines to be stopped, but it was too late: The ship struck the large iceburg, which caused various holes below the waterline.
A view of the ice field taken after the ship sank.
14-Apr: At 11:42 p.m.: The ship struck the large iceburg, which caused various holes below the waterline.
A view of the actual iceberg the Titanic struck. The ship was designed to stay afloat even if four of its under-level compartments flooded. Sadly, the iceberg caused five of the compartments to flood within minutes after the strike.
15-Apr: At 12:00 a.m., the Captain was told the ship would likely sink in two or three hours. He began to issue a first round of distress calls.
15-Apr: At 12:25 a.m., The RMS Carpathia, which was about 58 miles southeast at the time, received the distress call and immediately changed course to rescue passengers.
15-Apr: By 12:45 a.m., the first lifeboat was safely lowered, but with only 28 people on board despite a capacity for 65.
15-Apr: At 2:05 a.m., the last lifeboat left the ship, leaving over 1,500 still on board.
A rendering of the Titanic just before it sank to the depths of the ocean floor.
15-Apr: At 2:17 a.m., the last radio message was sent and the Captain announced: "Every man for himself."
15-Apr: At 2:20 a.m., the forward deck of the Titanic dipped underwater, which rapidly increased the rate of sinking. Over the next 10-20 minutes, the ship would become nearly vertical as the air trapped in the stern would keep the tail end of the boat afloat.
15-Apr: By 2:45 a.m., the Titanic was fully lost with only 710 of of the ship's nearly 2,200 passengers and crew surviving
15-Apr: At 4:00 a.m., the RMS Carpathia arrived on scene in response to the distress calls and began retrieving passengers from the lifeboats.
By late afternoon, the Carpathia had retrieved as many passengers as possible and departed for New York.
Meanwhile, back in New York, people were beginning to learn of the sinking of the Titanic, but there was no list of survivors.
18-Apr: At 9:30 p.m., the Carpathia reaches New York's Pier 54 to find a crowd of some 40,000 people. It would take another four days before a final list of casualties would be posted.
The crowd at the doors of the Cunard Line's Pier 54, where the ship Carpathia had arrived with survivors of the Titanic disaster aboard. The Carpathia arrived in New York in the evening of April 18, 1912; its arrival was delayed due to bad weather at sea. Since there had been many erroneous newspaper stories about the number of those rescued from the Titanic, including one that claimed the ship was damaged and afloat, being towed to Halifax, Nova Scotia, the real extent of the loss of life wasn't evident until the survivors of the disaster arrived in New York.
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