- Posted April 12, 2012 by
Titanic's Forgotten Life Jacket
While Titanic museums have sprung up around the world, filled with Titanic artifacts, it's a little known fact that one of the only recovered Titanic life jackets is on display in Rijeka, Croatia…a place of great importance to the Titanic story. Yet, it is a place many have forgotten and about which few have been told.
While virtually everyone knows about the Titanic sinking -- the lives lost, the night’s tragic details, and the survivor stories -- much less attention has been given to the events of the actual rescue operation. Who was it that answered the distress call and rescued the Titanic survivors? Where did that ship come from?
It turns out the story of the Carpathia, the Croatian-bound ship that rescued the Titanic, is a fascinating and heroic one. And, like the Titanic, it also has ties to the American Dream and a journey of a lifetime. A large passenger ship, it traveled every two weeks between New York and Rijeka (Croatia), primarily carrying Europeans toward the American Dream.
When it received the distress signal from the Titanic, it was less than 100 kilometers away from the Titanic, having been on its way back to Rijeka from New York.
The true hero of the Titanic story is the Carpathia's Captain Rostron, who woke up in the middle of the night to answer the call, ordering his ship to turn around and literally go full steam ahead toward the Titanic's last known position. He cut heat on the ship so that it could produce more steam and go faster than normally approved for that ship as it navigated treacherous icebergs, ultimately arriving at the Titanic in around three hours.
He also would not have been successful without his skilled crew. Even though the Captain was English, as the ship's main port was in Croatia, many of the crew members were Croatian sailors. Of course, the captain and his crew were awarded multiple times for their efforts.
So, what about the mentioned life jacket?
A Croatian crew member, Josip Car, kept one of the survivor's life jacket and many years later, after his own passing, his family donated this historical item to the Maritime and History Museum in Rijeka. It’s the only life jacket on mainland Europe, and one of only 5 recovered life jackets from the Titanic.
I had the honor of hearing about this Titanic story from some locals, while I was passing through Rijeka last July. And I feel that remembering the Carpathia is as important as remembering the Titanic, as without the Carpathia's amazing rescue efforts, the Titanic story may have been far more tragic...
Special Thanks to
Rijeka Maritime and Historical Museum
Grand Hotel Bonavia
Photos provided for video, with full permission, from Tourist Association of Rijeka
Music, Royalty Free
by Kevin MacLeod
Filming and Video with Permission of
Tourist Association of Rijeka and Rijeka Maritime and Historical Museum
Another fun report:
What does it take to be a Real Gladiator? http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-708127 (iReport Award Finalist)