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Titanic, 100 Years Later: Worst-Ever Ship Disasters Involving Icebergs

The total loss of life resulting from the other nine on the list does not equal that of the RMS Titanic. Eight of the top 10 occurred in the 19th century.


Most Disastrous Iceberg-Ship Collisions in the North Atlantic

  1. Titanic, 4/14/12, Southampton to New York City, 1,517 dead.

  • City of Glasgow, 3/1/1854, Liverpool to Philadelphia, 480 dead.

  • City of Boston, 1/29/1870, Halifax to Liverpool, 192 dead.

  • Pacific, 1/ 23/1856, Liverpool to New York City, 186 dead.

  • President, 3/11/1841, New York City to Liverpool, 120 dead.

  • John Rutledge, 2/19/1856, somewhere in the North Atlantic, 118 dead.

  • Limerick, 5/10/1849, Limerick to Quebec, 109 dead.

  • Hans Hedtoft, 1/30/1959, Godthabb to Copenhagen, 95 dead.

  • Vaillant, 4/14/1897, St. Malo to St. Pierre, 78 dead.

  • Naronic, 2/19/1893, Liverpool to New York City, 74 dead.
  • Note that the sum of the lives lost in Nos. 2 through 10 — 1,452 dead — total 65 fewer than the Titanic. With the lone exception of the 1959 incident and the Titanic, all other major collisions with an iceberg that resulted in loss of life occurred in the 19th century.

    Also, note that the Vaillant struck an iceberg on April 14 — just like the Titanic.

    Another ship, the Prior, struck a berg on April 14 in 1880 — casualties in that incident are unknown.

    Additionally, the surviving members of the Vaillant had to resort to cannibalism to stay alive. Some of the survivors on many of these collisions stayed on the iceberg until they were picked up.

    Source: Brian T. Hill’s iceberg database website

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