Disasters · Illinois

Ship capsized while docked, kills 844

July 24, 1915
Chicago, Illinois
The S.S. Eastland capsizes while docked, killing 844 passengers and crew

The ship had recently complied to the Seamen’s Act which, following the disaster of the Titanic three years before, required passenger vehicles to increase their number of lifeboats. This caused the ship, which was already top-heavy, to become severely unbalanced.

As passengers stood on the top deck, the ship began to list to the side slightly. The crew attempted to correct the issue but were unsuccessful. When a group of passengers suddenly rushed to one side, the abrupt weight shift caused the ship to roll on its side. Of the 2,572 passengers plus crew members, 844 were killed.

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