Are Any Titanic Survivors Still Alive?

The story of the sinking of the Titanic is one of the greatest and most tragic maritime disasters in seafaring history. Thanks to hubris, human error, inadequate maritime laws of the day — and, yes, a collision with an iceberg — the "unsinkable" ship did the unthinkable. According to History, of the 2,240 passengers and crew aboard the ship, only 706 survived, mainly due to the scarcity of lifeboats equipped by the passenger liner.

The Titanic sank over 110 years ago as of April 2022 — meaning that any living survivors today would have been infants at the time of the disaster and supercentenarians today. In fact, the last Titanic survivor died in 2009 at the age of 97, as The New York Times reported at the time. Though she was presumably too young to remember anything about the voyage and the ensuing catastrophe, she still ultimately lived with the consequences of the sinking well into old age.

Millvina Dean was the last living Titanic survivor before her death

Like hundreds of other third-class passengers on the Titanic's maiden voyage, Millvina Dean's parents (named Bertram and Georgetta, per The New York Times) were on their way to the United States, hoping for a better life in America. As The Guardian reported in 2009, her father, an Englishman, had family in Kansas and hoped to open a tobacco shop there. In 1912, this prompted Bertram to buy passage for third class on the Titanic for himself, Georgetta, and Millvina, who was only two months old at the time.

When the Titanic infamously sunk after striking an iceberg near Newfoundland, Canada, Bertram heard a crunching sound and suspected danger was afoot. He ordered his wife and infant daughter upstairs. Fortuitously, Millvina, her brother, and her mother were among the few third-class passengers to make it safely to a lifeboat. Owing to the code of "women and children first," Bertram stayed behind. Per The New York Times, he presumably drowned when the ship sank.

Millvina eventually returned to England. As an adult, she worked as part of the British government's cartography department, according to her New York Times obituary. She rarely spoke of the incident, and stated she couldn't grasp why anyone was interested in her story, calling herself "such an ordinary person."

Other Titanic children who survived

Millvina Dean wasn't the only young child present during the Titanic's fateful last voyage. According to the website Titanic Facts, there were 109 minors aboard during the doomed trip. Out of those, only 53 survived. 

Statistically, socio-economic privilege appeared to play a role when it came to the survival rates of the children aboard the Titanic. Most of the children present were first-class passengers, and out of that group, only one child died. Per Encyclopedia Titanica, the young victim was identified as Heather Loraine Allison who, along with her nurse, went missing in the chaos. Her family refused to board a lifeboat without her, and they all subsequently died in the sinking. Her body was never recovered.

Second-class survivor Mary Davis Wilburn described the horror of watching children and their parents perish in the freezing waters of the North Atlantic Ocean. "The dead came up [above the water's surface,] holding children in their arms. The poor people never had a chance," she wrote, per Titanic Facts.