30 seconds of delay doomed the Titanic, new report claims

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A new study has claimed that a 30-second delay proved fatal for the Titanic, the ship involved in one of the world's worst maritime disasters which claimed the lives of 1, 496 people.

The findings, ahead of the tragedy's centenary next year claim, had William Murdoch, the first officer of the ship, reacted 'even 15 seconds' earlier, the accident could have been averted.

Researchers who were part of the new study believe Murdoch hesitated before giving the order 'hard a starboard', The Daily Telegraph wrote.

The Titanic hit an iceberg while steaming across the Atlantic on her maiden voyage on the night of August 15, 1912. She was heading towards New York City from Southampton, England.

In the 1997 film Titanic, by James Cameron, Murdoch is shown committing suicide after opening fire at passengers trying to storm the lifeboats.

The newspaper report also mentioned a 1912 accident report which said the ship had slammed into the iceberg 37 seconds after it had spotted the object, 1,500 feet ahead.

Until now, that report was considered true with the 1997 film even basing its plot on the initial findings.

But the latest study into the tragedy has claimed that the iceberg was spotted 2,000 feet ahead and that the ship had half of an entire minute to change course.

The Daily Telegraph wrote, 'the new conclusion overturns the verdict of the original inquiry, which found that Murdoch, the First Officer, steered away immediately but could not avert catastrophe because the iceberg had been spotted too late'.

The report, titled SS Titanic: A Centennial Reappraisal, also attempts to debunk certain myths surrounding the accident.

Some of them quoted in The Daily Telegraph are:

– that the ship was doomed by a weak design and poor quality construction. In fact, no ship of the era could have withstood the seven-second contact with the iceberg, and it was the Titanic's immense strength that kept her afloat so long after the collision

– that her rudder was 'too small' for her size, meaning she could not turn sharply enough to avoid the obstacle.

– that the iceberg had not been spotted because the lookouts' binoculars were missing. Although true, the binoculars would not have been used to search for obstacles, but rather to evaluate their threat once they were seen.

First officer William Murdoch died during the sinking.

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