Titanic 100-Year Anniversary: The 5 Deadliest Shipwrecks Of All Time [Slideshow]

on April 10 2012 3:33 PM
  • MV Doña Paz
    The MV Doña Paz was a passenger ferry that collided with an oil tanker on Dec. 20, 1987 near the Philippine Sea. Fire broke out on board the Doña Paz and spread into the ocean. With the life jackets locked up, survivors jumped into the shark-infested water. The ship sank within two hours. Even though the ship had an official capacity of 1,493 passengers and 60 crew, the ship illegally sold extra tickets. The total number of casualties is listed as 1,749, but survivors indicated that there were as many as 4,000 people on board, so the death count could be much higher. Creative Commons
  • SS Sultana
    The SS Sultana was a Mississippi River steamboat ship that exploded on April 27, 1865 after three of the ship’s four boilers exploded, killing approximately 1,900 of the 2,400 passengers on board. The cause of the explosion was determined to be an increase in pressure from a faulty boiler coupled with a low water level in the engine. However, in 1888, a St. Louis resident named William Streetor claimed that his former business partner, Robert Louden, made a deathbed confession of having sabotaged the Sultana by a coal torpedo, a St. Louis resident named William Streetor claimed his former business partner, Robert Louden, confessed to having sabotaged the Sultana by a coal torpedo, a hollow iron casting filled with explosives and covered in coal dust frequently used in the American Civil War, which had ended the week before the ship sank. Although some eyewitness reports claim that there was some artillery shell at the wreckage, there is no evidence that Louden was telling the truth. Library of Congress
  • Halifax Explosion
    On December 6, 1917, the SS Mont-Blanc, a cargo ship willed with explosives, collided with the SS Imo in Halifax Harbor in Canada. The resulting explosion had the force equivalent to an 85-foot high cube of TNT. The disaster killed 2,000 and injured 9,000. The explosion destroyed every building in a 16-mile radius, and hundreds of people watching the fire were blinded when a shockwave shattered their windows. The estimated cost of the damage was $35 million Canadian dollars - - the equivalent of 500 million USD in 2007. Library and Archives Canada
  • SS Kiangya
    The SS Kiangya, a Chinese steamship carrying Chinese Civil War refugees, collided with a mine on Dec. 4, 1948 and sunk as it was fleeing the Communist army. The ship’s officially capacity was 1,186, but the passenger list indicated 2,150 passengers. Accounting for stowaways, the official death toll is listed at 3,920. Story China
  • MV Wilhelm Gustloff
    A German hospital ship, the MV Wilhelm Gustloff was hit by three soviet torpedioes on Jan. 30, 1945. As the torpedoes breached the hull, people panicked and began running out. Many were crushed or trampled. Survivors jumped into the frigid 39 degree water, many dying from exposure. In total, over 9,000 people died, making it the deadliest shipwreck in history. German National Archive
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The Titanic sank on April 15, 1912 after hitting an iceberg on its maiden voyage from England to the United States, killing over 1,500 of its 2,200 passengers on board. It lives on as the most infamous shipwreck in history -- however, it is only the sixth deadliest. Click through the slideshow for the 5 wrecks deadlier than the Titanic:

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