The death of the passenger liner "Titanic", which sank on the night of April 14-15, 1912 in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, shocked the whole world. It was difficult to find a newspaper that did not publish a message about this tragedy. Much less is known about the sad fate of the Canadian ship "Empress of Ireland". And the scale of this catastrophe was terrible. And it happened two years after the sinking of the Titanic.
The Canadian Pasiflc Railway, in 1906, manufactured two ocean-going steamers, the Empress of Ireland and the Empress of Britain. These ships were proudly called "floating cities". The length of each of them is more than 170 meters, the width is almost 20. They could reach speeds of up to 20 knots per hour, which is 37 kilometers. At the same time, each of the ships could take on board over 1, 500 passengers. First class cabins were as good as those of the most luxurious hotels.
For eight years, the liners ply from Canadian Quebec to English Liverpool and back. The ships crossed the Atlantic Ocean incredibly quickly for that time - in just six days. Over the years, each steamer has carried over 100, 000 passengers from one continent to another. Interestingly, they even published their own newspapers on board.
The shipping company drew appropriate conclusions from the tragedy with the Titanic, and security measures were significantly increased. For example, a biolocation system could warn of the approach of dangerous objects (ships, icebergs). The number of life jackets significantly exceeded the number of passengers and crew, and the lifeboats could simultaneously accommodate more than 1, 800 people. Emergency evacuation drills were regularly conducted with the ship's crew.
On May 28, 1914, the "Empress of Ireland" liner set off for the next, already 98th, flight on the Quebec - Liverpool route. The weather was fine that day. The aristocracy was accommodated in the first class cabins, the "gentlemen of the middle hand" in the second, and the most unpretentious passengers bought third class tickets. A total of 1057 passengers and 420 crew members were on board that day.
The vessel was sailing along the St. Lawrence River to the Atlantic Ocean. Suddenly the navigator reported to the captain that a dry cargo ship was heading on the opposite course. It was later established that it was the Norwegian Sturstad carrying coal. The clock was about 2 am, the river was covered with thick fog. The ships failed to disperse, the dry cargo ship pierced the hull of the "Empress of Ireland" with its bow.
The situation was further complicated by the fact that many passengers at that moment were sleeping peacefully, unaware of the impending disaster. In a panic, they ran out onto the deck, having little understanding of what was happening. Of the 36 boats, only 6 were successfully launched. A few minutes later, steam boilers exploded on the "Empress of Ireland". At 2 hours 15 minutes, the vessel sank to the bottom.
Only about 460 passengers were saved, more than 1, 000 were killed. Among the victims were very influential people. For example, a member of the House of Lords of the British Parliament Sir Henry Seaton-Carr, the son of the famous actor Henry Irving Lawrence, the wife of the famous businessman Ethel Paton. The captain of the "Empress of Ireland" was 39-year-old Henry George Kendall, a seasoned sailor. He survived this tragedy and until the end of his days he was very upset by what had happened.
One of the members of the "Empress of Ireland" crew was Frank Tower, who had served on the Titanic two years earlier. Then the Tower managed to escape, but this time fate was not so favorable to him. The list of the dead included 172 crew members, including Frank Tower. There is, however, another assumption: the person who escaped on the Titanic and died on the Canadian liner was not named Frank Tower, but William Clark.
According to the results of the investigation, the crew of the dry cargo ship "Sturstad" was found guilty of the tragedy. Its owner had to pay the Canadian side two million dollars. But, he could not find such an amount, having declared himself bankrupt. In parallel with this process, the Norwegians conducted their own investigation, blaming the crew of the Canadian liner.
If the "Titanic" lies at great depths, then the survey of the wreckage of the Canadian vessel did not cause any particular problems, the first dives of the divers began soon after the disaster. Managed to lift mail bags and silver bars for a total of $ 150, 000. And in the town of Rimuski, which is located on the bank of the river, not far from the site of the tragedy, a museum dedicated to the "Empress Ireland" liner was opened.
The death of the "Empress of Ireland" was not discussed in the press as vigorously as the catastrophe of the "Titanic". However, there were reasons for this: only two months passed and the fire of the First World War broke out on the planet. But, even today, the descendants of those killed on board the liner come to the site of the tragedy on the St. Lawrence River. A stone monument on the shore reminds of what happened.