On the Titanic it was Women and Children First, but usually it’s Every Man for Himself


This weekend marks the 100th anniversary of the Titanic disaster on April 14, 1912, but it’s also the same year the Costa Concordia crash in Italy brought the reality of a shipwreck to life for this century. While the historic Titanic wreck was known for saving women and children first, the Concordia crash has highlighted shown that many times the captain and crew are apt to abandon ship instead.

In fact, a new study reveals that typically women and children account for the bulk of the casualties as every man fends for themselves in most shipwreck disasters.

In a Swedish study released this month entitled “Every man for himself Gender, Norms and Survival in Maritime Disasters,” authors Mikael Elinder and Oscar Erixson studied a “database of 18 maritime disasters spanning three centuries (1852-2011), covering the fate of over 15,000 individuals of more than 30 nationalities.”

Their findings: “Women have a distinct survival disadvantage compared to men,” the study said. “Captains and crew survive at a significantly higher rate than passengers. We also find that the captain has the power to enforce normative behavior, that the gender gap in survival rates has declined, that women have a larger disadvantage in British shipwrecks … .”

Overall the survival rate of women was about (17.8%) compared to that of men (34.5%). Additionally, the study showed that in three shipwrecks all the women died and that more than 50% of the captains did not go down with their ships.

So this “unwritten law of the sea” to save women and children first turns out to be a myth in most cruise ship disasters with the Titanic as the exception. Basically self preservation was typically the norm when passengers and crew are faced with a sinking ship and ultimately death.  The Costa Concordia crash in Italy was typical of most disasters at sea. The captain abandoned ship, while crew members and passengers fended for themselves.

There were 32 passengers reported dead after the Italian luxury cruise liner Costa Concordia crashed into rocks off the coast of Italy on January 13, 2012. The captain is currently being investigated for his role in the disaster to determine what exactly led to the shipwreck.

So the heroism by captain, crew and men aboard the Titanic turns out to be an anomaly.  The survival rate of men aboard titanic was 16.9%, versus 74.6% for women, 51.1% for children and 23.8% for crew members.

So who was aboard the Titanic? Check out this free link to search names of passengers and crew for a limited time: www.ancestry.com/titanic

The Thomas Law Firm

Attorney West Thomas, host of the West of Legal radio show on KFWB News Talk 980, talks about legal issues every Sunday at 1 p.m. Listen to past shows including travel calamities such as the Costa Concordia at the West of Legal website.

For roughly 30 years, the legal experts at Thomas Law Firm have represented hundreds of clients injured in serious traffic accidents. Our legal team has also handled hundreds of wrongful death claims for families of victims killed in traffic accidents. Indeed, the car accident law firm has a proven track record supported by settlements ranging from several thousand dollars to millions.

Thomas is a California Personal Injury Law Firm with a track record of proven results. There is no cost to clients until our experienced team of lawyers and legal professionals have won your case. Finding the best car accident attorney can mean you will get the settlement you need to get your life back on track. Compensation for your injuries, loss of wages and pain and suffering can’t take away the trauma of the accident, but it can help you rebuild your life.

Call us today at 1-855-ASK WEST to speak with our car accident law firm. Thomas Law Firm has offices in California including its headquarters in Irvine. We also have offices outside of Orange County to serve you in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, San Diego, Riverside and in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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