Only 88 people survived the sinking of the SS Arctic on September 27,
1854, out of more than 400 on board. The paddle steamer SS Arctic
(pictured), bound for New York, sank off the coast of Newfoundland. When
Captain Luce ordered the lifeboats launched, a breakdown in discipline
saw the boats swamped by members of the crew and the more able-bodied
male passengers; most of the rest went down with the ship, four hours
after the collision. All the women and children on board perished. Two
of the six lifeboats launched from Arctic reached Newfoundland, and
another was picked up by a passing steamer, which also rescued a few
survivors from improvised rafts. Among these was Luce, who had regained
the surface after initially going down with the ship. The other three
lifeboats disappeared without trace. News of Arctic's loss did not reach
New York until two weeks after the sinking, when public sorrow quickly
turned to anger at the perceived cowardice of the crew. There was no
investigation into the disaster, and no one was held legally
responsible. Luce, who was generally exonerated from blame, retired from
the sea; some of the surviving crew chose not to return to the US.
Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Arctic_disaster>
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