EAST LANSING(WKZO) -- It was 100 years ago this weekend that the world was waking up to the news that the H.M.S. Titanic, the so-called “Ship of Dreams” had become a nightmare for the 22-hundred on board the sinking luxury liner.
Only 705 would survive, and one of the last survivors lived in Michigan until her death a decade ago. Winnifred Vera Quick Van Tongerloo was just 8-years-old when they were bumped from an earlier passage on board another ship by a coal strike. They were put on board the Titanic by chance. She traveled with her mother and sister to begin a new life with her father, who had gone ahead to establish himself as a carpenter in Detroit. They traveled 2nd class.
They were asleep and did not feel the ship shudder when it struck the iceberg and were awakened by a passenger, who only said there had been an accident. It was only when a ships steward noticed how slowly they were getting ready, that he shouted at them that the ship was sinking, did they hurry up 5 flights of stairs to the A-Deck, where the life boats were boarding. In an old CBS Interview, she remembered that night as one of panic and terror until she was assured that she would not have to get into the water. That’s what she thought after she was put into a life vest.
The three of them were the last to get on their particular life boat which was lowered into the water and made its way away from the ship. She says she remembers the lights going out in the sinking Luxury Liner and the screams of the other passengers as they drowned or froze.
After that they waited for hours in the dark and cold for the first rescue ship to arrive, the S.S. Carpathia.
It was April 14th 1912. Days later, they were met at the docks by her father and they started their new life in Detroit. She would later marry and have 5 children and eventually travel to all 48-states by car. She never got on another ship, and never returned to England. She died in East Lansing on July 4th 2002, at the age of 98. Only 4 other survivors out lived her.