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Titanic was high-tech marvel of its time

Sharon Gaudin | April 16, 2012
When the Titanic set sail 100 years ago this month, it was a marvel of state-of-the-art technology that captured the world's interest.

According to Trower, Phillips, the wireless operator, is believed to have stayed in the Marconi room, sending out distress messages as late as 2:17 a.m. when water was rushing in. Harold Bride, the second wireless operator and a survivor, later reported that he entered the wireless room and found a man trying to steal the life jacket off Phillips' back. Phillips was so engrossed in sending out distress calls that he hadn't even noticed.

The ship sank at 2:20 a.m., and Phillips was among those who perished.

Reports vary, but it's widely believed that 705 people survived the tragedy and 1,517 died. The survivors, in lifeboats, were later picked up by the RMS Carpathia.

If the Titanic had been equipped with sonar and radar technology, the tragedy would likely have not occurred. However, sonar was still in the experimental stage in 1912, and the development of radar was still more than 20 years in the future.

"Using only lookouts, there wasn't time enough to veer the ship away from the iceberg," Vadus said. "Today, they have sonar that could detect an iceberg under water, and most of the icebergs are under water. And radar could have detected it more than 100 miles away. To avoid hitting it, they would have needed to detect it a mile or two away. That would have been good. They might have been able to successfully veer away from it."

 

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