Out of the 2,240 passengers and crew aboard the Titanic, only 705 survived. One of the reasons was that too few life boats were available. The 20 boats were able to hold only 1,178 people.
About an hour after the Titanic struck an iceberg, the captain ordered an evacuation. The process did not go smoothly. The first lifeboat was only about half full when it was launched. This problem was repeated with most of the remaining dinghies. Although tradition mandated that women and children were to be rescued first, many of them were left behind because the evacuation was so disorganized. The ship sank about three hours after the initial incident.