Timeline Article: Titanic Breaks In Two

The main purpose of a ship is to float. That is what they are designed and built to do. Titanic was not designed to sink. As the bow was pulled under, the stern was lifted causing extreme stresses to form on the hull. Fourteen survivors would later testify to Titanic's stern rising high out of the water and then the ship breaking in two before she sank...

Painting By: Ken Marschall
Monday, April 15, 1912

The 700 passengers in the lifeboats floating nearby, are watching helplessly as Titanic's final moments take place. Then suddenly Titanic's lights go out, come back on, and then disappear permanently.

At this point, Titanic is being observed by starlight only. 1/4 mile away in lifeboat 1, Lookout George Symons is watching Titanic as she sinks. This is what he had to say before the British Wreck Commission that took place after the sinking:

"I stood and watched it till I heard two sharp explosions in the ship. What they were I could not say. Then she suddenly took a top cant, her stern came well out of the water then... She took a heavy cant and her bow went down clear... Head down, and that is the time when I saw her lights go out, all her lights. The next thing I saw was her poop. As she went down like that so her poop righted itself and I thought to myself, 'The poop is going to float.' "

Asked to explain this further, Symons went on to say:

"Her head was going well down... Her stern was well out of the water... It righted itself without the bow; in my estimation she must have broken in half."

George Symons

After Titanic breaks and the stern rights itself upon the surface of the water, the keel is all that is holding the two sections of the ship together. As the bow section sinks it pulls the stern section back up to a near vertical position. Then the bow section breaks loose leaving the stern section alone on the surface.

Still shot from "Titanic" (1997)
The first film to depict Titanic breaking in two.